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Nelly Biography

Nelly Biography

Nelly first came to mainstream audiences with the song, "Country Grammar" (2000) and released Free City with the St. Lunatics in 2001. Country Grammar established him as one of the most successful rappers of the early 2000s with the help of an image one part handsome boy-next-door and one part tough gangster. From the beginning of his hip hop career, the lyrics of "Country Grammar" explored this dichotomy, posing the question: "Who says pretty boys can't be wild niggas?" and containing references to gun violence and drug use while also sending shout outs to billionaires Bill Gates and Donald Trump, as well as fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter. The album Country Grammar, debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 40. Nelly and Country Grammar were nominated for two 2001 Grammy Awards--Best Rap Album and Best Rap Solo Performance. On July 18, 2001, it was certified 7x platinum. "Ride wit Me", from the Country Grammar album, was nominated for three 2001 MTV Video Music Awards--Best Male Video, Best Rap Video, and Viewer's Choice; the album won the Best Rap Video award. Nelly was also named "Best New Artist" at the first Annual BET Awards in 2001. Other recognitions in 2001 include winning the Favorite New Male Artist award at the 2001 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards and being named one of People's "Breakthrough Stars of 2001".



In 2002, his second album, Nellyville, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 714,000+ units. It stayed at number one for three weeks. After only a month, it was certified triple platinum. "Hot in Herre" was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks, followed immediately by "Dilemma", featuring Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child, which was number one for ten weeks. "Dilemma" was the first ever rap song to stay at number one for ten weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2002 he also won the American Music Award for "Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist", as well as winning six Billboard Music Awards (Artist of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, Male Hot 100 Artist of the Year, Male R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the Year, Rap Artist of the Year, and Rap Track of the Year for "Hot in Herre") and receiving nominations in 8 other categories. "Weird" Al parodied Nelly's Hot in Herre; Nelly liked it so much he donated clothes to Al and his band to wear on stage while performing the song.

In early 2003, Nelly released the controversial single, "Air Force Ones". MTV, MTV2, MuchMusic, and VH1 refused to air the video due to product placement for Nike's popular sneakers of the same name. BET, however, played it. (Nike and Nelly agreed on a one-year deal in 2003 to release a limited-edition sneaker called the "Air Derrty" which was a retro remake of Charles Barkley's signature sneaker the Nike Air Max2 CB '94 which was released on June 13, 2003 at select NIKE town stores and was limited to 1,000 pairs. He later made a deal with Reebok, stating, “I’ve always been into sneakers and throughout my career I’ve always wanted to have a signature pair of sneakers that truly reflect my personal style. It made the most sense for me to partner with Reebok because they fully understand and respect the culture of sports, music and entertainment.”[citation needed]


At the 2003 Grammys, he received two awards; one for Best Male Rap Solo Performance, and another shared with Kelly Rowland for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. He also won the 2003 American Music Award for "Fan's Choice" and received four other nominations.

In the following year, 2004, he won his third Grammy for Murphy Lee's number-one hit single "Shake Ya Tailfeather" from the Murphy's Law CD. "Shake Ya Tailfeather" featured Nelly and P. Diddy. On September 14, 2004, Nelly released two albums simultaneously, Sweat and Suit. Suit, an R&B-oriented album, debuted at number one on the Billboard albums chart, and Sweat, a rap-oriented album, debuted at number two in the same week. From the Suit album, the slow ballad "Over and Over", an unlikely duet with country music star Tim McGraw, became another crossover hit. Nelly performed the song with McGraw on the latter's CBS Television concert special in 2004. "Heart of a Champion" is a song by the rapper Nelly, released in 2004, from the album Sweat. In the song Nelly raps about how he is at the top of his game and has the drive and will to succeed in life. This song is frequently played at sporting events. Despite not being a single from the album, it is most certainly one of the most popular songs Nelly has ever recorded, especially amongst athletes. In 2005, he released Sweatsuit, a U.S-only compilation album consisting of tracks from Sweat and Suit, as well as three new tracks including "Grillz", which he scored another number-one hit with.

Nelly's entire song catalogue – including hits he has co-written with Tim McGraw and 'N Sync – is published by BMG Music Publishing.

Nelly feuded with rapper KRS-One. During the feud, Nelly used the angle that KRS-One was past his prime. KRS-One called Nelly out for being a bubble gum pop artist, and Nelly rebutted by naming KRS-One a hypocrite. This feud was even referenced by rapper Chino XL in his song "B-Boy". In it, Chino XL states "Nelly battling KRS-One, we gotta stop him! What's next? Beyoncé battling Rakim?"

In 2005 Nelly recorded a song with Eurovision Song Contest star Alsou. The song, called "Wish I Didn't Know", was never officially released, but was leaked and now can be found online. Also in 2005, Nelly was featured on the Notorious B.I.G.'s song Nasty Girl, and Mariah Carey’s album track, "To The Floor". "Nasty Girl" was on the Notorious B.I.G's posthumously released album Duets: The Final Chapter, and was also put on Sweatsuit. Then in 2006, he was featured on "Call on Me", Janet Jackson's first single from her 20 Y.O. album. In 2007 Nelly was also featured on R. Kelly's CD Double Up on a song called "Tryin' to Get a Number". Also in 2007, Nelly also contributed to Ashanti's track Switch, and T.I.’s song "Show It To Me", on his "T.I. Vs. T.I.P." album.


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