- This article is about Nelly, the hip-hop artist. For the female singer, see Nelly Furtado.
Nelly spent the first few years of his life living in Spain before moving to St. Louis, Missouri. He first came to mainstream audiences with Country Grammar (2000) and released Free City with his St. Louis crew the St. Lunatics in 2001. Country Grammar turned out to become a mainstream success that set the stage for his breakthrough album, Nellyville. Nellyville established him as one of the most famous rappers in the early 2000s, with an image of being equal parts handsome boy-next-door and tough gangsta. From the beginnings of his pop career, the lyrics of "Country Grammar" explored this dichotomy, posing the question: "Who says pretty boys can't be wild niggaz?" and containing references to gun violence and drug use while also sending shoutouts to billionaires Bill Gates and Donald Trump.
At the 45th annual Grammy Awards Nelly received two Grammys for Best Male Rap Solo Performance and shared a Grammy with Kelly Rowland for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
In early 2003, Nelly released the controversial single, "Air Force Ones". MTV, MTV2, and VH1 refused to air the video due to product placement for Nike's popular sneakers of the same name. BET, however, played it.
The following year in 2004 Nelly won his third Grammy this time for his number one hit single "Shake Ya Tailfeather". On September 14, 2004, Nelly released two albums, Sweat and Suit. Suit, an R&B-oriented album, debuted at #1 on the Billboard albums chart and Sweat, a rap-oriented album, debuted at #2 on 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. Nelly is part owner of the NBA expansion team Charlotte Bobcats with BET founder Robert Johnson as of 2005.
Even though Nelly's albums are classified as "Rap", he performs his lyrics in a singsong fashion, creating some confusion as to whether he's actually a singer or a rapper. A similar issue exists with Ja Rule.
Nelly used to be seen always with a white bandage on his left cheek, which he no longer wears. It was in remembrance of his brother who was in jail at the time. Most of his music videos feature Nelly wearing the St. Louis Cardinals logo.
Nelly is also a co-sponsor of the non-carbonated sports energy drink, Pimpjuice. The company also holds many contests, many of which have prizes to be able to meet him in person.
Nelly has a daughter named Chanel (born in 1994), and a son, Cornell III "Tre" (born in 1999).
He started his own clothing line called Apple Bottoms
In 2001, Nelly's sister Jacqueline "Jackie" Donahue was diagnosed with leukemia. In 2003, Nelly and Jackie started the Jes Us 4 Jackie campaign, a search for a bone marrow donor. The search was unsuccessful, and Jackie died March 24, 2005, of complications from leukemia. Jackie was survived by two children.
Nelly is currently dating R&B singer Ashanti.
- 2000 Country Grammar #1 US, #14 UK; 9x Platinum
- 2002 Nellyville #1 US, #2 UK; 6x Platinum
- 2003 Da Derrty Versions: The Reinvention #12 US; Platinum
- 2004 Sweat #2 US, #11 UK; Platinum
- 2004 Suit #1 US, #8 UK; 3x Platinum
|US Hot 100||US R&B/Hip-Hop||US Rap||UK Singles Chart|
|2000||"(Hot Shit) Country Grammar"||#7||-||-||#7||Country Grammar|
|2001||"Ride Wit Me" (feat. City Spud)||#3||-||-||#3||Country Grammar|
|2001||"Batter Up" (feat. Murphy Lee & Ali)||-||-||-||#28||Country Grammar|
|2002||"Hot in Herre"||#1 (7 weeks)||-||-||#4||Nellyville|
|2002||"Dilemma" (feat. Kelly Rowland)||#1 (10 weeks)||-||-||#1||Nellyville|
|2002||"Air Force Ones" (feat. Kyjuan, Murphy Lee & Ali)||#3||-||-||-||Nellyville|
|2003||"Work It" (feat. Justin Timberlake)||-||-||-||#7||Nellyville|
|2003||"Shake Ya Tailfeather"||#1||-||-||#10||Bad Boys II [Soundtrack]|
|2003||"Iz U"||-||-||-||#36||Da Derrty Versions: The Reinvention|
|2003||"Work It" (feat. Justin Timberlake)||#58||-||-||-||Da Derrty Versions: The Reinvention|
|2004||"Flap Your Wings"||#52||-||-||-||Sweat|
|2004||"My Place" (feat. Jaheim)||#4||-||-||#1||Suit|
|2004||"Tilt Ya Head Back" (feat. Christina Aguilera)||#58||-||-||#5||Sweat|
|2004||"Over and Over" (feat. Tim McGraw)||#3||-||-||#1||Suit|
|2005||"Na-Nana-Na" (feat. Jazze Pha)||-||-||-||-||Sweat|
|2005||"N Dey Say"||#64||-||-||#6||Suit|
|2005||"Errtime" (feat. Jung Tru & King Jacob)||#24||-||-||-||The Longest Yard [Soundtrack]|
|2005||"Fly Away"||-||-||-||-||The Longest Yard [Soundtrack]|
|2005||"Grillz" (feat. Paul Wall, Ali & Gipp)||#84||#33||#23||-||Sweatsuit|
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