We live in a day and age where instant gratification has become more important than sustained, long-term success. The number of first week sales, song streams and YouTube views an artist racks up are the metrics that receive the most headlines, but sometimes they don't tell the full story.
A little more than three years ago, Tech N9ne released "Fragile," a collaborative single with Kendrick Lamar, ¡MAYDAY! and Kendall Morgan from his 13th solo album, Something Else. Upon its release, "Fragile" was dubbed "the dopest song I've heard this year" by former DJBooth writer Lucas G, but there's a fairly wide gap between being hailed as "dope" and earning a plaque as an independent artist.
Two weeks ago - 37 months after it's initial release - "Fragile" became an American RIAA-certified Gold record.
In a genre that likes to only celebrate and praise Diamond and Platinum certifications, and where independent artists seldom sniff any certification, Tech and company moving 500,000 units (including stream equivalents) is quite an accomplishment.
"I've thought multiple times I may never see a plaque and tried to just ignore that thought and keep it moving," wrote ¡MAYDAY! frontman Wrekonize on Instagram. "But hard work and perseverance rewarded me with a surprise."
Exactly, perseverance - the steadfast belief that despite an uphill battle or challenge, success will be achieved. Sure, it helped that a post-good kid, m.A.A.d city Kendrick Lamar was a guest on the record, but that shouldn't take away from the achievement.
In addition to earning the third Gold certification of his almost two decade long career, following "Caribou Lou" (2012) and "Hood Go Crazy" (2016), Tech's video for "Fragile" has racked up 24 million views on YouTube, and at it's peak reached #11 on Billboard's Rhythmic Airplay chart.
Likes and RTs are great in the moment, but like handshakes and hugs the feeling they produce is fleeting. You know what isn't fleeting, though? A shiny plaque on your wall.
By DJ Z, who loves to argue with you on Twitter
Photo Credit: Strange Music