Nelly - "Country Grammar" Aug 25, 2015 14:00:18 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Aug 25, 2015 14:00:18 GMT -5
Country Grammar (2000)
Whether you call him a master at tongue-twisting rhymes and powerhouse flows or write him off as a forgettable, pretty-boy rapper, Nelly does deserve credit for furthering rap's presence in the mainstream, appealing to demographics like older women and twentysomethings who aren't always fond of rap music. On his record-breaking debut Country Grammar, which now sits as the ninth best selling rap album in history, Nelly blurs the lines of hard-headed rap flows and R&B sound, with some of his biggest hits like "Ride Wit Me" shining through as terrific examples of how energetic and lyrically sublime he can be as an artist.
After one of three forgettable and needless interludes featuring Cedric the Entertainer, Nelly kicks off the album with songs like "St. Louie," which capitalize off of his high-energy, quick-witted flow. We get the feeling that his style of rapping has the charisma and production of a friendly pop song with the lyrics of a layered battle rap. Only emphasizing that is Nelly's chart-topping "Country Grammar (Hot S***," a song that references the dialect of his hometown St. Louis. The whole album, Nelly has stated, has the goal of putting St. Louis on the rapping map and have people from his hometown take pride in the way they speak. Nelly takes a nursery rhyme style flow to the song, with nearly every line building off the last in a way that releases an unpredictable and seriously strong amount of energy. "Who said pretty boys can't be wild n*****? Loud n*****, O.K. Corral n*****. Foul n*****, running the club and busting the crowd n****," Nelly zealously spits early in his second verse. This song is an undeniable hit right from the get-go.
He persists on with "Ride Wit Me," one of the biggest songs of the early 2000's, which has him, as stated, finding the line between rap and R&B and decidedly blurring it with cut-throat lyricism in addition to a heavy focus on melody and charm. Nelly is the kind of guy at party who can be looked at as a threat to your girlfriend in terms of winning her over, a threat to the perceived tough guy who ostensibly runs the school, but also someone who can win you over if you're willing to be friendly and straight with him.
There's the insanely catchy and fluid "E.I.," which, again, capitalizes on the kind of "Old McDonald" style rhyme/flow game Nelly is concocting throughout this album, "Batter Up," which samples part of the theme song of The Jeffersons, in turn, producing a catchy song, "Tho Dem Rappers," which can almost pass as "Country Grammar II" with its emphasis on regional dialect, and "Never Let 'Em C U Sweat," a song that has Nelly imploring his fans to be weary of all the hating people can do and to always maintain an assured composure even if you find it difficult.
Nelly's strengths as a rapper largely shine through thanks to Jason "Jay E" Epperson's accomplished production, which is present on all but five tracks. Epperson is responsible for producing all of Nelly's strongest work on the album, and keeps things moving at an incredibly brisk pace even as songs reach up to five minutes in length. Country Grammar is an assured and well-developed debut album, one that functions well in both genres and, surprisingly enough, can blend them both just as well.
Recommended tracks (in order): "Ride Wit Me," "Country Grammar," "E.I.," "Tho Dem Rappers," "St. Louie," and "Never Let 'Em C U Sweat."