So after copping hot wheels that make hearts drop, a crib so plush that even haters have to salute, and enough ice to bring the room temperature down a couple of degrees, what does a multiplatinum rapper do to show he has his floss game down pat? How about spending enough dough to not only be the talk of the town, but to own it? It was exactly that aspiration that led to the title of Nelly’s next album.
“I was riding right up by St. Peters, Missouri,” he said last week before a studio session with the Neptunes in New York. “It’s kind of out there – a lot of trees, deer hunting and fishing. I was test driving a truck, just riding through, and I came across a town that was for sale. It was for sale, the whole damn town! I was thinking, ‘I should buy the whole town and call it Nellyville.’ ”
Nelly chose to save his pennies, but the idea stuck in his head, and now Nellyville is scheduled for release June 25.
“Nellyville is everything that’s in my world, how I see it,” he said. “How I [perceive] different people now, ’cause I see them in a new light, and how people see me. Nobody gave me a manual on how to adjust to selling so many records at a fast rate. If [Country Grammar] was my third album, I would know how to adjust a little better. But it was my first, and there I was, thrown amongst wolves. You see a lot of things change and you’re not ready for it.”
Nelly says that the biggest change from the last solo album to this one was having to work around his busy schedule, which included several awards show appearances, tours and a Super Bowl halftime performance.
“Everything has been hot fo’ sho’,” he said. “It’s been different for me, because when I was doing the first album I wasn’t doing nothing but pretty much that. This album [required] staying focused and continuing doing what you’d been doing – not straying away from the path, but not taking away from what you can do. You get a lifetime to do the first album and a year and some months to do the second one. It’s kinda hard to be like, ‘OK, pick up where you left from.’ Especially since the first one did so well.”
Nelly attributes a large portion of Country Grammar’s sales to the breakout first single. He admits picking an initial offering from Nellyville hasn’t been as easy.
“That was crazy because that was already a proven single for us,” he explained. ” ‘Country Grammar’ was something we were doing in the underground of St. Louis. We had a chance to research that. We had that out like a year before we even had a deal. St. Louis went crazy for it. For that to happen, we were like, ‘OK, we must [have] something here.’ Right now, I don’t know. It depends on what type of direction I’m trying to go in. I think since I am known for the party [songs] I think I might go somewhere else with it. Let me establish something else, some new terrain.”
Nelly has songs in the can like “The Big Gank,” a sequel to “Country Grammar” called “CG2,” a duet with Trina called “Party and Bullsh-,” a posse cut with the St. Lunatics called “Air Force Ones” (Justin Timberlake and Cedric the Entertainer are the only other guest stars so far) and a track called “Pimp Juice.” He has a couple of favorites he’s leaning toward – either the title track or “Splurge.”
“Splurge’ is something else from me,” he said. “The hook goes something like: ‘You see the magazines/ Me on your TV screens/ You think you know me/ But you really don’t/ You don’t even know but I/ I’m feeling good about myself/ So I splurge a little.’ OK, I’m chilling, I’m feelin good right now…. If I wanna buy a car, I’m ‘a buy a car. If I wanna buy this, I’m ‘a buy this. I worked hard. That’s what ‘Splurge’ is.”
With that frame of mind, we may just see a real Nellyville in the future.