NELLY LIFE BIOGRAPHY:
Nelly was born Cornell Haynes Jr. in St. Louis, where he encountered the street temptations so synonymous with rap artists. And like so many of his contemporaries, a change in circumstance at a pivotal time in his life may have changed the course of Nelly's life. In his case, when he was a teenager, Nelly was taken away from those streets when his mother moved to nearby suburban University City. It was there that he shifted his attention to playing baseball, storytelling, and writing rhymes. With some high school friends, Nelly formed the St. Lunatics, who scored a regional hit in 1996 with a self-produced single, "Gimmie What You Got." Frustrated with failed attempts to land a record deal as a group, they collectively decided that Nelly would have a better chance as a single act, confident that his stage presence and rhyming skills would win through. The rest of the group could follow with solo albums of their own.
The gamble paid off, and soon Nelly caught the attention of Universal, who released Nelly's debut album, Country Grammar, in 2000. What distinguished Nelly's take on rap from others was his laid-back delivery, deliberately reflecting the distinctive language and Southern tone of the Midwest. The album featured contributions from the St. Lunatics as well the Teamsters, Lil' Wayne, and Cedric the Entertainer, and spent seven weeks on top of the U.S. album charts. All along, Nelly's goal was to put his hometown of St. Louis and the St. Lunatics on the hip-hop map. Though Nelly had become a star as a solo artist as planned, he said that he is and always will be a member of the St. Lunatics, a collective that also includes Big Lee, Kyjuan, Murphy Lee, and City Spud. Nelly fulfilled his promise in 2001 with the release of Free City, the debut St. Lunatics album featuring the hit single "Midwest Swing."
The following summer Nelly returned with his second album, Nellyville, and lived up to his self-proclaimed "#1" billing. The album topped the Billboard album chart while the Neptunes-produced lead single, "Hot in Herre" remained atop the singles chart. In all, Nelly impressively held the number one spot on ten different Billboard charts the week of Nellyville's release. Few rap artists could boast such numbers, and Nelly surely savored his number one status, particularly after being dismissed as a novelty two summers earlier when he debuted. You could call him a pop-rapper if you liked, but you surely couldn't challenge his number one status. With his Platinum status assured and street cred solidified, Nelly made a series of moves designed to establish his own fiefdom alongside those of hip-hop moguls Sean "Diddy" Combs and Jay-Z.
He launched his VOKAL clothing line, which quickly racked up multi-million dollar sales. In 2003, he lit up summer radio yet again with "Shake Ya Tailfeather", a collaboration with Puff Daddy and Murphy Lee. The track didn't cause the immediate addiction of Nelly joints past; nevertheless, as the lead single from celluloid hype machine Bad Boys II, "Tailfeather" was irrepressible. The savvy MC piggybacked this success with the launch of Pimp Juice, his audacious entry into the crowded energy drink market. Named for the hit song of the same name, the product stirred up plenty of controversy. Of course, this only made the Nelly name stronger. In September of that same year, the burgeoning hip-hop mogul debuted his Derrty Entertainment empire with the release of Murphy Lee's full-length effort. With the power of Universal behind it, Derrty was Nelly's boldest move yet, bolder even than his ownership stake in a NASCAR team. Even so, things got a little bolder with Nelly's 'Da Derrty Versions [The Reinvention]' album. Dropping in late November 2003, the album featured retooled and remixed versions of Nelly favorites like "Hot in Herre", "Ride Wit Me", "E.I.", and "Air Force Ones". With production work from within his crew and guest shots from existing St. Lunatics members (City Spud; Ali) as well as up and comers (King Jacob; Prentiss Church; Tru; Chocolate Tai), Versions was yet another way for Nelly to brighten his own star power while sharing the spotlight with his longtime homies.
Nelly then released two albums, on the same day, September 14th, 2004. Instead of just releasing a double album, Nelly released his album as two seperate efforts, one album titled 'Sweat', with the other album named 'Suit'. This was either an attempt to make more from fans buying two seperate albums, or splitting his work into two projects and styles, so the fans could pick the album that suited them (excuse the pun, LOL!). Once again the album proved that Nelly was now a dominating force in both genres of Hip Hop, and R'n'B, and no other artist seems to have pulled this off aswell as Nelly! Nelly enjoyed massive success with both of the albums, and also every single that was released fo the two reached high sales levels. Nelly's 'Suit' album spawned the hit singles, 'My Place', 'N Dey Say', and 'Over and Over'. The singles that flew off Nelly's 'Sweat' album were just as successfull. These included, 'Na-NaNa-Na' featuring Jazze Pha, 'Flap Your Wings', and 'Tilt Ya Head Back' featuring Christina Aguilera. All the singles enjoyed huge airplay, TV video play, and sales in the Billboard chart!
In 2006 he scored another #1 hit Grillz, which features Paul Wall. Nelly's entire song catalogue - including hits he has co-written with Tim McGraw and NSync - is published by BMG Music Publishing.
Nelly also feuded with legendary rapper KRS-One. During the feud, Nelly used the angle that KRS-One was a tired and old rapper, past his prime. KRS-One on the other hand, called Nelly out for being a bubble gum pop artist. While many believe that KRS-One easily beat Nelly technically and lyrically, some believe Nelly got the best of KRS-One due to the fact that Nelly is still selling records while KRS-One is not. This feud was even referenced by rapper Chino XL in his song "B-Boy". In it, Chino XL states "Nelly batteling KRS-One, we gotta stop him! What's next? Beyonce batteling Rakim?"
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