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After 10 years plus in the evolving landscape of the music business and millions of records sold, Nelly’s last decade could be seen as “Just A Dream,” but the success is far from a fantasy. For St. Louis native, Cornell Haynes, Jr., hard work and the willingness to take risks has led him to reach heights only few have.
Beyond The Songs: Nelly
The journey to stardom was not always the easiest for Nelly. With huge local success in St. Louis with the group, St. Lunatics, the rapper was left with a hunger for a bigger stage. After initial attempts for the group to break in the competitive national hip-hop scene in the late 1990’s did not pan out, Nelly made the decision to try the solo route. Nelly quickly found success with the mega-hit “Country Grammar” in 2000. Putting St. Louis on the map in the hip-hop world and crossing-over to the pop world, Nelly caught fire with his first album Country Grammar and quickly sold 9 million albums.
Success continued with Nelly on his next album, Nellyville. The album was a massive success with such hits “Hot in Herre” and “Dilemma,” featuring Kelly Rowland of Destiny’s Child. Nelly’s midas touch continued when he came up with concept of two albums with different themes for each album. Sweat and Suit both albums spawned major hits such as “Over and Over,” with country star Tim McGraw and “N’Dey Say.”
Following the release of Sweat/Suit, Nelly took a four year hiatus from making albums to work on other business ventures and focus on his personal life, following his sister’s battle with leukemia which she tragically lost her fight with in 2005. During his off time from making albums, Nelly took to acting and co-starred with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock in the 2005 remake of the “The Longest Yard.
After a four year hiatus from making albums, Nelly released Brass Knuckles in 2008. With many guests including Fergie, Usher, T.I. and Akon, the album struggled to sell previous Nelly numbers. However with the changing music industry with the digital age, the album still managed to go gold certified.
2010 came full circle for Nelly with the mega-smash hit “Just A Dream.” Ten years after breaking into the music scene with “Country Grammar,” Nelly returned to the top of the charts with Jim Jonsin produced “Just A Dream” and his newest album 5.0. With a featured tour around the United States, the Blizzard Music Tour, Nelly continues to show why he is one of music’s biggest acts.
The accolades continue to show Nelly’s mainstay power after recently Billboard named Nelly one of the top artists of the last decade. The longevity of his career is a credit to his work ethic and with six albums under his belt and 12 Hot 100 top 10 hits, Nelly carrys on to prove everyone that he is going to be one of the greatest ever.