Generally speaking, I wouldn't suggest that any artist's career is at its end based on the lackluster performance of one album and a couple of singles, but I feel like Nelly's situation is unique. Earlier this year I read a popular music magazine ( I can't remember which one. Blender, maybe?) that listed Nelly has one of the wackest rappers of all time, and I immediately took offense. I then spent the next couple of minutes trying to develop an argument against the magazine's suggestion and, to my surprise, drew a complete blank. I'm a fan of most of Nelly's singles, I own a couple of his albums, and I generally enjoy his presence on the radio, but I can't say that I've ever really respected his talent.
Nelly is a pop-star, all day. Since hitting it big with K-Row on the mellowed out Dilemma, Nelly's been more or less singing his way toward the top of the charts through most of this decade. He even managed to sound as good as Janet on their boring ass R&B hit, Call On Me. He's hooked up with Mariah, Christina, and even Tim McGraw , not to provide a touch of hip-hop to their hits, but to harmonize along with them on the hook. Sweat/Suit, his 2004 double album, sought to give the one-time hitmaker a platform to reconcile his new image with his hip-hop ambition by allowing him the opportunity to embrace his inner Britney on one disc, while demonstrating his rapping prowess on the other. Too bad no one was too interested in hearing Nelly return to his rapping roots, as every hit from that album came from the disc's softer side.
But at least back then Nelly could sell a record. The man hasn't had a solo hit in more than 4 years, and that's basically half of his career. If in 2008 Nelly isn't just a wack rapper, but a commercial failure, is there any hope left for his future in the industry?
While you ponder that, here's the first video that Nelly released from Brass Knuckles, before scrapping the original product and starting over after the song failed to catch on.
I kinda liked this song...