Today in Hip Hop History: June 27, 2000
Today is a big day for any hip hop fan growing up in the 2000’s. This was the day that Nelly emerged onto the scene with his debut album Country Grammar. Yeah, Country Grammar came out 17 years ago. SEVENTEEN. That’s news enough to make any millennial feel old. This album helped show off the sound coming from the Midwest as Nelly was putting St. Louis and Missouri on the map in the rap game.
If you think about it, Nelly was one of the first to make the “sing-rap” style popular. You see it all the time now with Drake and many others in the game, and this might be due to the fact that Nelly helped propel that to a popular front. There’s a lot to be said about the sheer legend of this album. For one, Nelly got Cedric the Entertainer to do some voice work on the album, including the intro, interlude, and outro. That’s a pretty boss move for your first album.
Second, tracks off of Country Grammar are still being played on the radio today. Talk about longevity. There’s “Country Grammar (Hot Shit)” with it’s infectious beat and hook that really moved Nelly into the spotlight. If you take a look down the list of some of the most successful songs in the 2000’s, this is definitely one of them. Then there’s “Ride Wit Me” which is a downright classic and timeless. You can play that in any situation and you bet people will be yelling out “MUST BE THE MONEY!”
Nelly was way ahead of his time. He sold 2 millions copies in under a month and his biggest feature on the album was Lil Wayne, who was still young and a member of The Hot Boys still. Wayne hadn’t yet made his giant stamp but he and Nelly would go on to be two of the biggest rap figures of that decade. Had Nelly been doing this in the era of streaming, it’s safe to assume he would be on Drake like levels of success. Nelly basically took a group of his friends and put St. Louis on the map with Country Grammar while getting a couple Grammy noms. Country Grammar is also one of the most highly sold rap albums of all time. Not a bad debut, kid.