I remember when Nelly first came out. With a few exceptions, I wasn’t too tolerable of rap from regions outside of the East and West at the time, so I just thought “Country Grammar” was horrible.
I forget what type of first week numbers the album did, but Pimp Juice was platinum soon enough. I still didn’t think much of it. Even when dude ended up selling 9 million. I just thought we’d look back on him as a 2000 Hammer-type, a talentless clown who got lucky and sold some records. Boy, was I wrong. Hate him or love him, (I’m not too fond of him), Nelly has had a pretty successful career. Not too many rappers have four multi-platinum albums on their resumes. I doubt he’ll ever had a fifth one, though.
I remember interviewing him about a year ago. At the time, that “Wadsyaname” single was out and Brass Knuckles was slated for a September release. Early critiques said Nelly sounded dated on the record. Pffftt! That ain’t nothing new. I always thought he sounded kinda primitive, but I guess it doesn’t matter when your first two albums sell 9 mill. Dude couldn’t believe critics were tagging him “dated,” though. Dated or not, something is off, cause dude is having all kinds of problems getting traction on his new records.
Brass Knuckles has been pushed back for nearly a year. Pimp Juice still gets plenty of placement at big award shows and exposure other artists can’t afford, but it seems like people just don’t care about his music anymore. Dude recently released “Body On Me,” his fourth single off Brass Knuckles, without counting that marching band joint he performed at the BET Awards and this new single he has with Usher. Interestingly, Nelly, a multi-platinum rapper himself, is collaborating with all sorts of huge stars, which may be a sign that he or his label are aware that he isn’t the star he once was. In fact, his first release was a solo effort, but every other single has Nelly sharing billing with Billboard charters. Still, like “Party People” featuring Fergie, “Step On My J’s” and “Wadsyaname” before it, “Body On Me” doesn’t look to be the record that will get Nelly back atop of the Billboard charts. The only thing I can see people taking from it, is that Ashanti, his longtime alleged boo, is featured on the record. Maybe the gossipy sites will talk about the video for a week and then move on.
Nonetheless, Nelly’s career is in jeopardy. Fif also had a hard time taking off last year, but his CD still hit stores within months. Nelly is going on a year on the shelf. As previously mentioned, he’s already on his fourth single. How much more money is Universal going to shell out before they make a decision to let him sink or swim? The more they keep investing into the project, the deeper they’ll be in the hole if it flops. And let’s just say Nelly does get his mojo back, he won’t do Mariah or Usher numbers, so Universal is probably not coming out of that hole on Brass Knuckles. What do you guys think? Is Nelly’s hour done, or can he pull out some heat in time?