Nelly Biography

Review The Artist (34)

When Nelly first debuted nationally in summer 2000, he seemed like a novelty, but it quickly became apparent that he was, in fact, an exceptional artist, a rapper with truly universal appeal. He wasn't from the East or West Coast, and wasn't really from the Dirty South, either. Rather, Nelly was from St. Louis, a Midwestern city halfway between Minneapolis and New Orleans. His locale certainly informed his rapping style, which was as much country as urban, and his dialect as well, which was, similarly, as much Southern drawl as Midwestern twang. Plus, Nelly never shied away from a pop-rap approach, embracing a singalong vocal style that made his hooks incredibly catchy. As a result, Nelly became an exceptional rapper capable of crossing all boundaries, from the Dirty South to the TRL crowd and everything in between. His first hit, "Country Grammar (Hot...)," became a summer anthem, and many more hits followed. In particular, his popularity peaked in summer 2002, when he topped seemingly every Billboard chart possible with his Nellyville album and its lead single, "Hot in Herre."

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. 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 his 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 as 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. After all, his hit streak continued unabated, with "Iz U" (from his stopgap Derrty Versions remix album) and "Shake Ya Tailfeather" (from the Bad Boys II soundtrack) keeping him in the spotlight while he readied his double-disc Sweatsuit project (following the lead of OutKast and R. Kelly, who had both recently released very successful two-disc sets). The seperately released double album dropped in fall 2004, preceded perfectly by a pair of red-hot singles: "My Place" (a slow jam) and "Flap Your Wings" (a club jam). A stroke of commercial (and to an extent, creative) genius, the superstar-laced project catapulted Nelly back atop the pop-rap world, where his presence was peerless.

Thanks to Thankx to Chyna T~ma hiz numba 1 fan that knows how to do the d*^n thang !! aka t-dubluvnel for submitting the biography.

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remember | Reviewer: a fan !! | 11/19/2008

ok people we know at this point that you love nelly we all do i have a soft spot for him but what you gotta rember is that this is about his voice his music and his talent we know he's blessed with good looks but thats not all god blessed him with he gave him a voice that entertains thousand of people all over the world this space is to show our appreication for him being there to entertain us and hes not only a brilliant musician but but quite a good actor aswell we have to rember to support his voice firstly and looks second !!! we all love you nelly good luck with everything

OMG | Reviewer: Stepheny G | 10/31/2008

OMG Nelly is my boo 4 life and i never knew those things about him. I knew some things but now that i know more i can truly say Cornell Haynes Jr. is and will always be mine. WRITE BACK PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keep it Up!! hell yeah!!! | Reviewer: Roshea | 9/28/2008

well I might be a few steps off because I am not going to go on raveing about your looks (although they are not bad!) but I will say That I enjoy your Music alot it has some good lessons keep up the good work but we would also like to more about the man behind the music not to pry but a bit more would be nice

his biography/information | Reviewer: kananelo mohale | 3/20/2008

i would like to know more about you'cuz my project is about you.i did my project about you 'cuz you are my best artist so far and i also enjoy your music.mostly i would to know more about your biography.please.i will apppreciate your kindness

I love you toomuch!!!!!!!!! | Reviewer: Anonymous | 12/4/2007

Hey nelly this is your girl Dedra Sherell Davis and I love you too much. I talk about you soooo much that my mom gets mad, I love you more than anybody in this world I have over 200 pictures of you and that is just on my wall. you are the sexiest man on the face of earth and that is no lie oh yeah I know you are way better than that jocker Chingy plus he got crooked ears and yours is perfect also I have called your hotline number 314 735 0444 over 500 times and you never called back so if you read this message email me at

NELLY IS SO HOT | Reviewer: SAM | 11/8/2007

Nelly is the hottest rapper in the buissness. I love all of his songs. He is my favorite of ALL the artists. I wish i could meet him $$$$$$$$$$

I LOVE U NELLY!BUT WATCH OUT!I GONNA FIND U AND TAKE U FROM ASHANTY! | Reviewer: mila-teodora's friend | 11/7/2007

hej teodora!i love you,what's up girl!!!!i can't weit to see you in Bosnia!I miss you very much,in Belgrade nobody know's who is NELLY!!!!
i'm going crazy without you!i miss every tolk with you about our BABY!mmmmmmmmm i have more than 2000 his pictures!and my favourite song is watsyname-from new album!mmmmmmmmm!!!!!every day i'm crying because i will never gonna see my love....and after that i always say to muself-mila,you gonna be his first neighbour!i have a faith in that!crazy girl 2

speechless | Reviewer: Ana | 11/3/2007

nelly... i dnt think ur actually ganna read this... but if we were to meet in person i would cry... i would cry tears of joy ... ur inspirational ... sounds funny to here from a stranger but i love u... in my dreams u say it back.. u take my breath away.. speechless iz wat u make me

"I lOvE yOu NeLlY" | Reviewer: Bryony | 10/24/2007

Nelly i loved you since i was like 13 years old
and i still do. i mean if you walked through the door right now i probably wont be able to meet you because i think i will faint. Im SOOO madley crazy in love with you.. oh yeah and i am now known as BARNY HAYNES:-)

YouReallyOughtaKnowThatI'mJust4You | Reviewer: prettygirlapril | 10/22/2007

You like a man of God and you so fine to me I gotta know is you saved or you willing to be

I met you years ago at least seven I know On MTV and BET

You still cute still kind and you my type of guy

So keep your head up cause you a man of God
I love you this much cause I'm a woman of God.

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