For some, it appears that earning an RIAA certification is easier than ever. With bloated double albums gaming streaming services, it's hard to argue with the notion that plaques are being handed out "like candy," as was said by Capitol Records artist Jon Bellion during a new (and rare) interview with Genius' Rob Markman.
"Streams?" he began. "Like, joke rappers who play video games and have video game YouTubes drop records and they go gold. They're handing out plaques like it's candy on Halloween. If streams were the definition of albums that influence people, 808s and Heartbreaks, Transatlanticism, Donuts from Dilla, would be the highest streaming things of all-time. But they're not."
Of course, taste is subjective, but influence is less so.
What Bellion notes here is that the most influential albums are not the ones doing major numbers on streaming platforms. Some of the most moving music in hip-hop is not even on streaming services because of sample clearances.
That said, does this make the validity of an RIAA-certification any less? That may be up to the artist to decide. Does the plaque mean as much now as it did pre-streaming? Perhaps not, but it is still a major milestone that true artists deserve to celebrate, regardless of the type of music they make.