Nelly is one of the most successful rappers of all-time. His recording career began in earnest in 2000 and since that time he’s sold more 21 million records in the United States alone. He’s responsible for three number one albums and ten top ten singles. Of those ten hits, four have gone all the way to number one.
When he released his first album, Country Grammar in 2000, Nelly was an anomaly. He was a rapper from the Midwest—St. Louis to be exact. At the time, rappers came from the coasts or the South. Nelly used his regional uniqueness as a calling card and never tried to hide where he came from. In fact, Nelly often uses a Midwestern drawl/slang in his songs.
Nelly achieved his amazing success thanks to a slew of songs with extremely catchy hooks. Nelly has said in interviews that he usually starts with the chorus and then adds the verses.
In popular music, there are songs you can sing along too and songs you can dance too. For most of Nelly’s tunes you can do both.
Some of Nelly biggest hits include “Ride wit Me,” “Hot in Herre,” “Dilemma,” “Shake Ya Teailfeather,” "Grillz," and "Just a Dream."
Nelly often employs the talents of other artists. In fact, it’s just as common for Nelly to release a single with a guest artist as it is for him to release a single without a guest artist. Over the years, Nelly has recorded singles with Kelly Rowland, Justin Timberlake, Diddy, Christina Aguilera, Fergie, Akon, Ashanti, Jermaine Dupri, Nicki Minaj and Pharrell.
In 2004, Nelly released the single “Over and Over” with, of all people, Tim McGraw. The single peaked at number three and eventually earned a Platinum certification. In 2013, Nelly worked with another country artist, Florida Georgia Line. Nelly appeared in the duo’s remix of “Cruise.”
Beyond music, Nelly owns two clothing lines. Apple Bottoms caters to women while Vokal makes togs for men. In the early 2000s, he had his own Nike sneaker called the “Air Derrty.”
Nelly once owned a part of the Charlotte Bobcats but was disinvested when Michael Jordan bought the team in 2010.
Nelly is an accomplished poker player. He was participated in the Main Event at the 2007 World Series of Poker, PokerStars European Poker Tour, and Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure.