Hip-Hop goes Country with Nelly!
It's been 19 years since Nelly dropped his debut album, "Country Grammar". Despite knowing a couple of songs on the album, I have never listened to the album itself and it sold very well. One month after its release, Country Grammar sold over 1.5 million copies, in 2002 it sold 7.7 million copies, and on July 21st, 2016, the album was certified diamond. Which brought me into writing this review, how did Nelly sold that much of copies and it's rare I see people mentioning Nelly as their top favorite rapper. I'm not saying Nelly is a bad rapper, I actually like him, but I am curious about the St-Louis rapper first album, which is why I decided to listen to the whole album for the first time, and I will let you know my opinion on the album in this review. Country Grammar was released on June 27th, 2000, under the labels Universal Records and Fo' Reel. Music production was done by City Spud, Jason Epperson and Steve Wills, and featuring artists are the St. Lunatics, Lil' Wayne and The Teamsters with Cedric The Entertainer on the skits.
Before the first song of the album, we have an introduction from comedian, Cedric The Entertainer, who himself is from St-Louis just like Nelly. The first song is called, "St-Louie", where Nelly raps about how it is to be from St-Louis and the lifestyle over there. Several things I like about that song, it has a midwest sound and vibe, along with the hook which sounds like a sing-along country vibe, (I got that reference from Red Dead Redemption 2). Another interesting information, in the third verse, Nelly says, "With Slim that Used to Diss Me", where Slim is Eminem, and believe it or not both rappers, had a little beef at the beginning of the millennium. The following song is, "Greed, Hate, Envy" where Nelly raps about being careful when becoming successful because other people around you can change their attitude, all due to jealousy. The instrumental is nice and Nelly has a unique flow that I have never noticed on no other rappers before which makes the song better. "Country Grammar (Hot Shit)" is Nelly very first single which was a commercial success. This is another song where Nelly raps about his hometown and how proud he is being from there. The hook in the song interpolates the children clapping game song, "Down Down Baby". Next up, we have "Steal The Show" featuring The St. Lunatics. In order of verses, we have City Spud (who for me sounded like Diddy in his verse), Murphy Lee, Ali, Kyjuan and Nelly at the end. Following this song, we have a 30 seconds interlude with Cedric The Entertainer.
The 7th song of the album is "Ride Wit Me" featuring City Spud of St. Lunatics (and this time, City Spud doesn't sound like Diddy). Now, if you've never heard this song before, stop reading this review and go listen to the song and come back. Ride Wit Me was another successful commercial single for Nelly. "E.I." was again, another commercial hit for Country Grammar. At the half of the album, we have the song "Thicky Thick Girl" featuring Ali Jones & Murphy Lee of St. Lunatics. This might be my favorite song from the album featuring the St. Lunatics. I like the smooth vibe of the song, and Nelly had a nice hook on the song itself. So far the album is really enjoyable. "For My" is featuring Lil' Wayne, where the beat sounds like a Mannie Fresh beat, but it's produced by Jason "Jay-E" Epperson. After we have the songs "Utha Side" and "Tho Dem Wrappas". The following song is "Wrap Sumden" featuring Murphy Lee and Ali and honestly, the song didn't do it for me.
"Batter Up" featuring the St. Lunatics, was another commercial success from the album. As a kid, I used to love the song, but now I feel after a while, the song gets annoying. Maybe because the song has a catchy hook and as a kid, that's what attracted me to the song itself. The hook interpolates the opening theme of the tv show The Jeffersons, which was a popular show in the 70s and the 80s with George Jefferson aka Sherman Hemsley who appears as a cameo in the video (RIP). "Never Let 'Em C U Sweat" is featuring The Teamsters and I think this song has the most gangsta vibe in the album but nothing special to it; it doesn't fit the Nelly persona. I wish I could say more about who are The Teamsters, but I did not find any details about them. The last song of the album is "Luven Me". This song was the best one to finish the album because this is where Nelly raps about his mother who worked hard for her and her sons, while Nelly was always causing and getting trouble in the streets and with the law, but he is thankful for his mother and feels bad for being ungrateful when he was younger. The second verse was for his girlfriend at the time and the third verse was for all his friends, telling them that he will always be there and down for them no matter what. Of course, we have one last skit from Uncle Ced The Entertainer finishing the album.
Now, do I understand why the album sold so well back then; well with 4 to 5 hit records in one album, I can't argue with high selling copies. Also, I remember in the early 2000's I used to hear and see Nelly everywhere on the radio and the television. Do I think Country Grammar is a classic hip-hop album, I would say and a good album to listen during the summer, I don't why. I will say this though, Nelly came around when Eminem, Jay-Z, Ja Rule, Missy Elliot and many more were hot at that time, so I'm not taking anything away from the Derrty Rapper and give him nothing but my respect. And I like how he entered the hip-hop game with his unique flow and midwest country style of rapping, which was never heard before. Congratulations to Nelly for a successful career!
Grade : 3.8/5