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Nelly Argues His Era Of Hip Hop Was The ‘Toughest Ever’ Leave a comment


Nelly has claimed that the era of Hip Hop in which he emerged remains the “toughest ever” — by one metric, at least.

During an appearance on LeBron JamesThe Shop, the St. Louis rap legend reflected on his breakthrough success in the 2000s and the challenges he faced in trying to stand out in a crowded marketplace full of bona fide stars.

Discussing the Grammys’ hit-and-miss success when it comes to awarding rappers, he said: “Country Grammar sold five million and I didn’t even get nominated as Best New Artist! Because my album came out in 2000 so I wasn’t even on the ballot. In 2001, the great, talented, well-deserving Miss Alicia Keys won — and she should have won.”

He then admitted that he had a chip on his shoulder coming from St. Louis when bigger cities like New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta were dominating Hip Hop at the time.

“You gotta understand, my era of music was the toughest era in Hip Hop ever. Ever!” he declared. “When I put out songs, I had to go against DMX, JAY-Z, Eminem, Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, Luda. All of us are fighting for one spot! So from ’99 to 2008-2010, it’s the hardest era ever to get records.”

Watch the clip below.

Nelly’s sentiment echoes that of fellow rap veteran Styles P, who previously claimed that Hip Hop isn’t as competitive as it once was.

During an interview with former NBA star-turned-broadcaster Jalen Rose last year, the LOX lyricist spoke about the lack of friendly sparring among modern rappers while using basketball scoring analogies to drive his point home.

“That’s also the difference between Hip Hop of back then and Hip Hop of today — they aren’t competitive enough against each other, I feel,” he said. “I personally feel like when you get on a track with somebody, it’s supposed to be business.

“When you get in the studio with somebody, you supposed to be trying to air them out. Not diss them, but you supposed to be trying to drop a triple-double.”

He added: “If they gone drop a double-double, you want to make sure you drop a triple-double and I think that sense of competitiveness has left somewhat.”

Although his output has slowed since the height of his career in the 2000s, Nelly’s impact on the rap game is still felt. Last year Chance The Rapper said he wanted to collaborate with the “Ride Wit Me” hitmaker, who he half-jokingly hailed as “the most important country star of our time.”

Nelly Shows Off Vocals Alongside Ashanti On Jermaine Dupri-Backed Single Featuring Juicy J

Nelly Shows Off Vocals Alongside Ashanti On Jermaine Dupri-Backed Single Featuring Juicy J

When asked about potentially making country music on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the Chicago native said: “You know what? I would do it if I could do it with who I consider to be the most important country star of our time, the incomparable Nelly.

“He’s an amazing artist. I remember I used to listen to — I mean, he made ‘Hot In Herre’ which, to me is naturally a country song. Also [‘Over and Over’]. He’s got some country classics!”

Nelly was receptive to the idea of working with Chance, telling Entertainment Tonight: “It’s funny, I just saw Chance out in Vegas. We talked about it. He’s serious and we’re going to try and make it happen.”


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