Continuing our celebration of Hip-Hop's 50th anniversary on Audacy's Hip-Hop Made, Nelly reflects on who he thinks are some of the top names in the genre.
LISTEN NOW: Nelly talks favorite artists and spreading the Hip-Hop sound to other genres
Since coming on the scene with his debut album, Country Grammar, in June 2000, Nelly has seen it all. Being in the spotlight for more than one-third of the genre’s 50 year existence, the Hip-Hop favorite has some favorites of his own.
“We’re talking about celebrating 50 years of Hip-Hop —we just did that at the GRAMMYs — so you’re talking about 50 years [worth of artists],” he told Audacy’s David & Kelli of The Wake Up Call on KFRG. “You have so many people that could be in that list and I’m just honored to be a part of the culture.”
He continued, “You’re talking about great artists like Busta [Rhymes], LL [Cool J], Tupac [Shakur], Biggie [The Notorious B.I.G.]… Lil Wayne. I’m pretty sure if you ask anybody in Canada, Toronto, they’re gonna say Drake — they have a great reason to say Drake,” he said.
Not only has Nelly been around to see Hip-Hop reach new heights as a genre of it’s own, but he’s also been a large part of bringing Hip-Hop to other genres with one-of-a-kind collaborations. One of the genres to welcome him most has been Country.
“I’ve been getting so much love from Country music since the beginning, since Country Grammar, and I didn’t understand what was happening,” he shared. “When we first did Country Grammar — I tell this story all the time — we were doing shows where Big & Rich would be headlining, but DMX would be headlining the next night and we thought that was happening for everybody, but it wasn’t happening for everybody.”
He continued, “As we grew and we understood what was happening, I brought on ‘Over and Over Again,’ I was able to do that with Tim McGraw to kind of test the waters to say ‘Yo I appreciate you guys’ music.’ And then we moved on to Florida Georgia Line ['Cruise'] and things like that and here we are the last person to go on at Stagecoach. It’s been a beautiful ride and I’m very thankful.”
Hear Nelly reflect more on his 23 year career, plus talk about his new Moonshine brand and what it’s like to play a Country Music Festival as a Hip-Hop artist by checking out his full conversation with with David and Kelli above.