DAR Roundtable: Nelly's Country Grammar versus Nellyville

Country Grammar

1. Intro (featuring Cedric The Entertainer)
2. St. Louie 
3. Greed, Hate, Envy 
4. Country Grammar(Hot Shit)
5. Steal The Show(featuring St Lunatics)
6. Interlude(featuring Cedric The Entertainer)
7. Ride Wit Me(featuring City Spud)
8. E.I.
9. Thicky Thick Girl(featuring Murphy Lee and Ali)
10. For My(featuring Lil Wayne)
11. Utha Side
12. Tho Dem Wrappas
13. Wrap Sumden (featuring St Lunatics)
14. Batter Up (featuring Murphy Lee and Ali)
15. Never Let Em C U Sweat(featuring The Teamsters)
16. Luven Me 
17. Outro (featuring Cedric The Entertainer)



1. Nellyville 
2. Getting It Started(featuring Cedric The Entertainer and Lala)
3. Hot In Herre 
4. Dem Boyz(featuring St Lunatics)
5. Oh Nelly (featuring Murphy Lee)
6. Pimp Juice 
7. Air Force Ones (featuring St Lunatics)
8. In The Store (featuring Cedric The Entertainer and LaLa)
9. On The Grind (featuring King Jacob)
10. Dilemma (featuring Kelly Rowland)
11. Splurge 
12. Work It (featuring Justin Timberlake)
13. Roc The Mic Remix (featuring Murphy Lee, Freeway and Beanie Sigel)
14. The Gank
15. 5000
16. #1
17. CG 2 (featuring St Lunatics)
18. Say Now 
19. Fuck It Then (featuring Cedric The Entertainer and LaLa)

There was a time where Nelly was one of the biggest artists in hip hop. Top two sales wise actually. During the early 2000s, there were only two men who truly owned the charts album wise and managed to be all over MTV TRL: Eminem and Nelly. While Nelly and his rise to fame seemed to truly come out of nowhere, it had been a tough journey for him to actually get there. With success in range, he released his debut album Country Grammar, which is officially 9x platinum and in the top 20 list for highest selling hip hop albums of all time. His follow up album Nellyville, went 7x platinum and is also on that top 20 list I believe. With Nelly having two of the biggest selling albums in hip hop, he is a certified legend. For DAR Midwest Week, we wanted to look at his first two albums and reflect on them both a bit while also seeing which one the people favored more. Let's get into it.

I think I've got to give it to Nellyville, if only by a "#1"-tinged nose. While CG served as a nice introduction to the St. Louis, MO rapper, Nellyville shows the maturation needed to place Nelly into one of those "best artists from the 2000s" discussions. The album showcases that loverman rap Nelly is so known for in songs such as "Dilemma," that braggadocios nature, as shown in songs such as "#1" and the "Roc The Mic" remix, and southern smoothness in songs such as "Pimp Juice." You'll notice that I haven't mentioned "Hot In Herre," arguably one of Nelly's most-well-known songs. As cliched as it is now, it's still in a class of its own. I mean, play "Hot In Herre" right now, in November 2015, and watch as people still "drop down and get they eagle on." And yes, I know that's a different song. The album features more instant classic/more memorable songs than Country Grammar and shows a Nelly who, somehow, is even hungrier the second time around.

When it comes to Nellyville vs. Country Grammar, I'm going with Nelly's sophomore album every time. Country Grammar was more about Nelly introducing who he was to the world. Nellyville was when he really broke out. It was a bit more mainstream than Country Grammar, but it was relatable to me. From "Dilemma" to "Air Force Ones" to "Hot In Herre", the audience got a taste of Nelly that stuck with us. We all sat back wondering, "Did this man really make a song about shoes?" But he did and it was hot!

I wouldn't say there was more growth between the albums; we just got a chance to see how wide his range is. Country Grammar opened the door, but Nellyville brought him over the threshold.

Being from the Midwest, most people expect me to be a fan of Nelly by default. And I was for these two albums. Now, not so much. Country Grammar was one of my favorite songs when it dropped and the rest of the album hit me just as hard. His single selection was perfect for the album and on top of that, ''Utha Side'' and ''Steal The Show'' were dope as well. I was 9 when it first came out and it was one of the first albums i heard from a Midwest artist and I became a fan instantly. All I knew at the time was Southern and East Coast artists. That being said, between the two, Nellyville is my absolute favorite. I still listen to it today and to me it is where Nelly perfected his sound. He found the perfect balance between the sing-song style and straight up rapping. He's never been a lyricst, but he never sounded weak on the tracks. Over the years he's kind of floated back and forth on tracks sounding like he did on Nellyville but from beginning to end (except Dilemna...fuck that song) that album is solid. CG2 and Splurge are my two favorite tracks on the it.

Nelly is an artist that is slept on in a lot of ways. As far as the first half of the 2000s, only two men truly dominated the game from a sales perspective and that would be Nelly and Eminem. Nelly came out the gate with Country Grammar and the album took off. It's crazy to me because in some places over the world, you could play a record off this album and it still gets the crowd to lose their mind. The same could be said to an extent for Nellyville as bars packed will still go crazy for "Hot In Herre". I thought the rest of the panel would choose Country Grammar and I'm shocked they didn't honestly, as I feel it is slightly a better album. It represented Nelly to the fullest and showcased him at his most honest and raw to me as an artist. Nellyville was the mark of a man who had made it and found a formula for winning. While both albums are actually dope to me, I have to edge it slightly to Country Grammar. As a younger True, I leaned towards Nellyville, but as we revisit these albums I think I have to go with Country Grammar. It is truly a dope album and dare I say a classic album just off impact and sales alone.

What about you? What album do you prefer between these two? Post your comments below.



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