Nelly

  • Rapper, songwriter, singer born Cornell Hayes Jr. in 1974 from Austin Texas.
  • As a teenager, Nelly moved to St. Louis, and he formed the hip hop group The St. Lunatics in 1993. They had a local hit in 1997 called Gimme What Ya Got, but they were unable to secure a recording contract. By 1999, Nelly signed a record deal as a solo artist, after the company heard some of the demos he had done. He was one of only a few rappers based out of the midwest.
  • His debut album, Country Grammar, was released in 2000. Its “Midwestern Rap” sound was unique, with pop-rap singalongs with a Missouri twang. It was a huge success, selling over 10 million copies in the U.S., certified diamond, and topping the Billboard 200 album chart. The title track peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and a follow-up single, Ride Wit Me, made it to #3.
  • The following year, he rejoined the St. Lunatics, and their debut album, Free City, was released. Because of Nelly’s solo success, it sold over 1 million copies, and peaked at #3 on the album chart.
  • In 2002, his second solo album was released – Nellyville. It also topped the album chart, and ultimately sold over 6 million copies in the U.S. The album includes his first #1 singles – Hot In Herre and Dilemma (featuring Kelly Rowland). Both songs won Grammy awards. In 2003, he and fellow rappers P. Diddy and Murphy Lee contributed the song Shake Ya Tailfeather to the soundtrack of the film Bad Boys II. It became his third #1 song, and it also won a Grammy award.
  • In 2004, he released 2 studio albums on the same date. Titled Sweat and Suit, they continued his string of success – Suit topped the album chart and sold over 3 million copies in the U.S., while Sweat peaked at #2 and reached platinum status. Two singles broke into the top 5 – My Place and Over and Over. Over and Over was a country rap song that featured Tim McGraw. The following year, the album was re-released as a compilation album, titled Sweatsuit, that included 4 additional songs. One of these new songs, Grillz, became his fourth #1 single.
  • Nelly released 3 additional studio albums from 2008 to 2013. Sales of these albums have been modest. However, the single Just A Dream from the 2010 album 5.0 peaked at #3 on the Hot 100 chart, and it topped over 4 million in digital sales.
  • Nelly also has been the featured artist on songs from many other artists. Notably, a Nelly-remix version of Florida Georgia Line’s country song Cruise was very successful. Nelly has collaborated with over 30 artists with singles between 2001 and 2017.
  • He has a film and television career, with his own reality TV show called Nellyville, which ran for 2 seasons in 2015. He also has performed on the TV shows CSI: NY and 90210. In films, he has acted in 2 movies – Snipes and The Longest Yard, and he is in the upcoming movie A Fall From Grace. He has had shoe deals with Nike and Reebok, and he was one of the owners of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats until Michael Jordan purchased the team.
  • All Nelly songs are explicit – lots of profanity, sex, drugs, etc. As such, radio friendly versions were made that frankly sound awful. But…that’s pop radio for you.
  • I’ll never profess to be a hip hop fan, but I do have a strong liking for his song Hot In Herre. As is the case for many Nelly songs, it is extremely catchy. And…raunchy. Watch the video.

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