Is Rapper Nelly Leaving Hip Hop For Country?

When it comes to music genres, Nelly has been a wearer of many hats. The “St. Lunatic” rapper first stepped on the Hip-Hop music scene in an enormous way with a hit debut single and album. Over time, Nelly has found success in R&B, Pop, Rock, and Country. But with the massive success that Nelly has found in Country music, including his latest musical moves, he’s left many of his fans wondering.

Is Nelly abandoning Hip-Hop to be a Country artist?

Throughout his career, Nelly experienced colossal success with multiple multi-platinum singles and albums. On his 2004 album Suit, Nelly released the single “Over and Over” which featured Country music superstar Tim McGraw. The single went on to do extremely well in many countries, also hitting the #3 spot on Billboard. Then in 2012, Nelly featured on what would become one of the biggest selling Country music songs of all time on digital platforms, “Cruise (Remix)” by Florida Georgia Line. The song stayed at the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for 24 weeks.

His efforts in Country music would only continue to expand over the years. In 2015, rumors began to circulate that Nelly had begun work on a Country album. However, Nelly came forward to say that the information had been rather “misconstrued” at the time. “We talked about doing an EP that went across all boundaries and being a different vibe. I love country music,” Nelly shared with Entertainment Weekly. “I respect it to the utmost, but there’s nothing in the world that makes me think I can do a country album.

Although Nelly had early roots in Hip-Hop and R&B, he credits his uncle for putting him on to Country music when he was younger. Artists like George Strait, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, and Charley Pride were in heavy rotation. In 2021, however, it seems that Nelly revisited those country roots. In August, Nelly released his latest album Heartland, which indeed is a Country album. The project features artists such as Florida Georgia Line, Kane Brown, BRELAND, and more. With his current foray into Country music in full swing, Nelly told Billboard that he’s unsure if he will be a full-fledged country artist.

Giving credit to his fans for allowing him to be “musically free,” Nelly prefers not to be boxed in. “I am Hip-Hop. I love rap. That’s just who I am,” said Nelly. “But as far as my music, I get a chance to express myself in whatever lane that is possible because we all know that nothing is just one-dimensional nowadays.  Nelly was recently announced to be the recipient of this year’s “I Am Hip-Hop” award at the upcoming BET Hip Hop Awards.  “I have been blessed to work with some incredible people in my career, making 22 years go by in the blink of an eye,” Nelly said in a recent statement.

About John Davidson

John Davidson is a California native who enjoys hip hop music, skiing and traveling international. Davidson graduated from USC majoring in Journalism.

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