Cornell Iral Haynes Jr. (born November 2, 1974 in Austin, Texas), better known as Nelly, is a rapper from St. Louis, Missouri. His success was unusual for a rapper in the 2000s since he did not come from either the west coast, east coast or southern hip hop scenes. His style of hip-hop is known for having a mellow delivery, his accent and catchy hooks which are more often sung than rapped.
He began his music career as a member of a hip-hop group called St. Lunatics. While they enjoyed some local success in the late 90s, the group were unable to get a major label to sign them. He thus decided to leave the group and pursued a solo career. His debut album Country Grammar was released in 2000. The album was a huge success, producing three top 20 singles (two of which made the top 10) and the album itself received a diamond RIAA certificate (the ninth hip-hop album to do so) and is currently the fourth-best selling hip-hop album of all time. His next three albums also proved to be mutli-platinum selling successes, and he had a number of popular singles as well.
- Country Grammar (2000)
- Nellyville (2002)
- Sweat and Suit (2004) - Originally released separately though on the same release date but later released together as Sweatsuit
- Brass Knuckles (2008)
- 5.0 (2010)
- M.O. (2013)
Tropes associated with Nelly:
- All Just a Dream: "Just A Dream", of course.
- Auto-Tune: The remix of Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise", which Nelly is featured on, uses this for the singing parts.
- A Wild Rapper Appears!: He has had a number of guess spots on non-rap songs like the remix of *NSYNC's "Girlfriend", "Call on Me" by Janet Jackson and the remix of "Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line.
- Car Song: "Hey Porsche" is a love song that uses a number of car metaphors. A vintage Porsche 356A convertible is even featured in its music video.
- Country Rap: He provided a rap verse to the remix of "Cruise", a country song and Tim McGraw was featured on "Over and Over".
- Distinct Double Album: Nelly's Sweat and Suit albums were released at the same time and later released together. The former consists of Hip-Hop party songs while the latter consists of Hip-Hop influenced R&B.
- Greatest Hits Album: The Best of Nelly though it was only released in Japan.
- Homage: The music video for "Ride wit Me" is based on Smokey and the Bandit.
- In Da Club: The official music video for "Hot in Herre" takes place in a dance club.
- "Just Joking" Justification: "Hot in Herre" has this bit:Stop pacin', time wastin'
I got a friend with a pole in the basement
(Female voice: "What?")
I'm just kiddin' like Jason
(Female voice: "Oh.")
Unless you gon' do it
- Misogyny Song: "Tip Drill" is a particularly infamous example due to its controversial accompanied music video. It memorably included, amongst other things, Nelly taking a credit card and swiping it between the buttocks of a woman wearing a thong.
- Older Than They Look: Nelly can easily pass for a man in his early-to-mid 20s despite being in his mid-to-late 40s, as of now. He looked exactly the same for the past 20 years.
- Product Placement: Subverted in the case of "Air Force Ones". The song is about a brand of Nike shoes, but he wasn't paid by them to make the song (though the music video was still banned on MTV due to their anti-product placement policies). He did, however, get his own line of Nike shoes after the song became a hit.
- Sequel Song: "Gone" is considered a sequel to "Dilemma", and both feature Kelly Rowland. It was even originally titled "Dilemma p.2" but Nelly changed the name out of fear that it would not meant people's expectations.
- Shout-Out: The end of the first verse of "Hot In Herre" quotes Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers' "Bustin' Loose.""Cuz I feel like bustin' loose / I feel like touchin' you"
- Silly Love Songs: Hey Porsche which is a love song using car metaphors.