Sean reminded me this morning that it took Illmatic seven years to sell one million copies. Widely considered the best hip-hop album of the 90s, and it wasn’t certified platinum until 2001*. Add to that the fact that the release of Jay-Z’s The Blueprint was overshadowed by planes flying into buildings that morning**. Add to that the fact that more people have seen Mos Def play an alien or a safecracker than have heard him rhyme with Talib Kweli. Add to that the fact that more people watch The Roots play on Jimmy Fallon in one week than have bought Things Fall Apart in the last eleven years.
Suddenly I don’t feel so bad about being behind the curve on real MCs.
* It was so good that, when Jay-Z laid into Nas on his legendary diss track “The Takeover,” he concedes how good Illmatic was. For one feuding rapper to admit that a rival’s product was at all good is praising with faint damnation.
** That has to be something to wake up to. “New album dropped this morning. Damn, look at all these messages on my phone. Must be tearing it UP. Gonna turn on the news, see what they’re saying.”