If you went from being one of the most popular rappers of all time (of ALL TIME) to being reduced to playing Branson, MO, along with Yakov Smirnoff and a puppet show, all in the space of about five years, the last thing you would want to do get into any trouble down there in Branson, which would only serve the purpose of drawing attention to the fact that that's what you have to do now for money.

That would mean not getting into any epic bar fights with the people who actually live in Branson, assuming anyone actually lives in Branson; not going for a swim in the Lake of the Ozarks, which is filled with spent condoms and beer cans anyway, and drowning, because you don't know how to swim, because you're black (my bad); and not impregnating any of the local, corn-fed 15 year-old white chicks, who I'm sure all look like they're 40 - as difficult as I'm sure that would be.

The last thing you'd need, if you're Nelly, is to get into a heated argument with the people behind the puppet show about who gets top billing, so assholes such as myself can mock you and draw the obvious connection with Spinal Tap - perhaps the most obvious connection since the drummer from Toto died in a tragic gardening accident. (That really did happen. Look it up.) Especially if that puppet show is William Tyler and Lester, or whatever it was called, and there's a genuine case to be made that it deserves top billing, ahead of Nelly.

I remember, back when it was announced that Nelly was playing Branson, thinking to myself, damn. I know artists who have long since run out of good ideas can make a lot of money playing one of these resorts, like Celine Dion and Joey Fatone from Nsync, who both played Las Vegas. Granted, those aren't necessarily people you want to model yourself after as an artist. But Prince also played Las Vegas, and he's pretty much beyond criticism, aside from being a Jehova's Witness, and a suspect homophobe,and being against sites like YouTube, just because they don't make him any money, and about 98% of his recorded output since 1987. Other than that, he's the man. You know good and well the only reason he invited Kim Kardashian on stage at his show in NY the other day is because he wanted to hit that. The fact that he has a "type" is well established. He likes 'em ethnically ambiguous and ridonkulously well endowed. I bet he has a dogeared copy of the issue of Playboy Kim Kardashian was in somewhere in Paisley Park. I wonder if he saw the article I was in, which was also in that issue.

No homo on being in Playboy.

Anyway, like I was saying, I know this is a way for has beens (pronounced the way Nicki Minaj pronounces it) to make money, and I guess any job is better than no job at all, as long as it doesn't involve anything teh ghey, but Branson, MO is not Las Vegas, and Nelly was at the absolute top of the pop charts a lot more recently than 1987. The fact that he would even bother with some shit like that lets me know that he needs the money. He must be overextended, with the mortgage on his place way out in the sticks, not too far from the BGM, and wherever he lives down in Atlanta, and trying to take care of however many kids he has (suffice it to say there's a lot of babies here in St. Louis), and if he still has that knockoff version of Jay-Z's 40/40 Club. He doesn't want to run the risk of ending up like one of these southern rappers, like Scarface, who wasn't paying his child support, or Chamillionaire, who lost his home ("strategically") to foreclosure, or Slim Thug, who can't afford to tip well in the strip club. And I'm sure the list goes on and on. Nelly could argue that he used to visit Silver Dollar City as a kid, like a (very) young Bol, and that it was always his dream to play there, but I heard he's not really from St. Louis.

Hence I wasn't surprised to read the other day that Nelly got into it with the promoter of his show down in Branson, to the point where the authorities had to get involved. Supposedly, his show had to be moved to a different venue, because there were concerns about holding it outside. Maybe they didn't want any rednecks shooting at the stage, and it's not like you can set up a metal detector outdoors. (It's impossible.) Or maybe there's now a lot of Mexicans living down in Branson, and they were concerned that they might think it was a free show, bring your own Modelo Especial. I wouldn't be surprised if Nelly just couldn't attract enough people. He's got that song "Over and Over," which is big amongst rednecks, but how's he gonna perform it, without the white guy there to do all of the heavy lifting? So, they moved the show to another place, and as part of moving the show to another place, probably a rec room in a basement at a VFW Hall, Nelly's fee had to be cut in half. Upon finding this out, Nelly and his weed carriers, possibly including that guy in the Phantom of the Opera mask (which would be scary as shit), confronted the guy and threatened him until he cut a check for the other half of Nelly's fee. But then he just called the bank and canceled payment on the check.

The company that handles Nelly's tours these days, Puppet Show, Inc., has filed a lawsuit against the promoter. If I were Nelly, I'd try to talk them out of it. It's not for very much money. One of Ashanti's custom wigs probably cost more. And it's not like he couldn't just go down there and play another one of those half price shows. What else does he have to do these days?