Nelly is one of the premier rappers of his generation. Nelly blasted into the music scene with his first single in 2000 and reinvented the genre of rap music. Since that time, he has proven that he is not a one-hit wonder. His concerts sell out tickets all over the United States, and Nelly has fans across the globe. Nelly's mixture of rap, pop, R&B, and hip hop creates music that appeals to scores of music fans.
In November 1974, Nelly was born Cornell Haynes in St. Louis, Missouri. His parents divorced when he was only eight years old, and in 1993, he and his mother relocated to the St. Louis suburb of University City. Nelly started high school and began to concentrate more on music and rhymes. He also had dreams of becoming a major league baseball player. He and his high school friends put together a musical group called the St. Lunatics. They self-released their first album, called Gimme What You Got, which sold over 10,000 copies. Although the St. Lunatics were a very popular local group, they had difficulty finding a major record deal. As a group, they decided that Nelly would have a better chance making it on his own. Despite his success, Nelly considers himself a part of the group and still records with them.
Going out on his own paid off for Nelly, who, in 1999, signed a recording deal with Universal Records. He was only 19 years old. His first album, Country Grammar, was released in 2001. It reached number one on the billboard charts that summer. Nelly's next big singles 'Ride Wit Me' and 'Hot In Herre' both topped the charts. At the time of Nellyville's release (his second album) Nelly held the number one spot on ten different billboard charts. In 2003, he released his third album, Da Derrty Version: The Reinvention.
On top of all this recording, Nelly has become quite the entrepreneur. He has his own clothing line called Vokal. Nelly also started a non-profit organization called 4sho4kids. This organization is for kids with developmental disabilities and children born with drug addictions. Despite this, Nelly still has time to tour all over the world. He has had concerts in the United States, Canada, and Europe and has performed with Puff Daddy, Cedric the Entertainer, the Teamsters, and King Jacob.
Nelly became very successful in a short amount of time. He has three chart-topping albums, all full of Top 10 hits. He even has a platinum record sales award. He was awarded 2 Grammy awards for 2002 Best Rap Solo Performance and 2002 Best Rap/Song Collaboration. He has also won 4 Sources Awards, 6 Billboards Awards, the American Music Award, the World Music Award, and several MTV, BET, and Soul Train awards, along with being nominated for countless others. With all this critical acclaim, Nelly is still writing rhymes and recording albums. He is one of the most respected rappers today and has created his own original style of rap music.