Throwback MP3 Interview: NELLY (2008)
Story and Interview by Matthew Shack
((( Audio Interview Below )))
Cornell “Nelly” Haynes has it all.
Immeasurable talent, multi-platinum records, good looks...
Bevies of beautiful women lusting after him while wearing his Apple Bottom Jeans clothing line on their behinds...
Fame, fortune, his own record label, a new physique, a superstar girlfriend...
And a piece of an NBA team that has Michael Jordan attached a business partner. (Charlotte Bobcats.)
The only other rapper who has THAT many “successful” oars in the water is Shawn Corey Carter.
If I didn’t love myself so much, maybe I’d be him for a week or two. Then again, maybe I wouldn’t.
Why? Because Nelly is pissed the f*** off! And I don’t blame him.
So why is this cat, "HOTTER THAN FISH GREASE??" … Like he’s flat-ass broke and sleeping in the back of a ‘94 Ford Taurus??
Nelly feels disrespected and underappreciated. He’s underrated and he’s speaking on it.
I caught up with the St. Lunatic himself, at his video for "Party People" featuring Fergie shot in an empty warehouse/loading dock in San Pedro, CA.
We took a stroll followed by a phalanx of paparazzi and TV cameramen and spoke on real business.
TFM: Seems like you’ve got a lot of new things on your plate, let us know what’s going on.
Nelly: My new album’s coming out, June 25th “Brass Knuckles” so be checking for that. Working on the St. Lunatics project. It’s ready to be shipped…it’s bananas. We’re in the mix…we got it crackin’.
TFM: It looks like you’ve been doing a lot of (weight) lifting. You looking real cool with the extra curricular activities, man. Tell us about your workout schedule.
Nelly: I come from an athletic background so, I’ve getting my stretch on. I’m one of those people who’s like not like obsessed with it but, I get in there. When it’s time to work, it’s time to work! But, I’m like that with anything. When I work, I work. Does it look like I’ve put on some weight? [Laughs]
TFM: [Laughing] Yeah, you look like you’ve put on a couple of pounds.
Nelly: Really? I didn’t think anybody could tell! [Laughing] I couldn’t tell like that.
TFM: Give us an idea of who you have producing this next album, and whose featured.
Nelly: Got my boy, Neff-U who produced almost half the album. This single that we’re doing with Fergie was produced by my man, Polow [Da Don]. My big brother Jermaine Dupri, obviously. If you think “Grillz” and “Air Force Ones” was hot?
TFM: They were hot!
Nelly: Yeah, they WAS hot! The next song that I did? Was that…x10!
TFM: Damn! That’s saying a lot, man.
Nelly: The song is called my “Stepped On My Js” featuring myself, Jermaine Dupri and Ciara They’re gonna love that! [I’ve] got Akon. I’ve got a joint with Usher. I got a joint with T.I. and LL Cool J. I’ve got a song that I love to death called "Self Esteem" with the incredible Chuck D. (Public Enemy) Who else I’ve got? [I’ve got] Juvenile…I just mixed it up a little bit. I didn’t stray too far one way or too far the other way.
[Fans walk over to hug and greet, Nelly]
TFM: There are a lot of Nelly fans out there. We’re talking about somebody’s mother, all the way to the daughters, to the grandfather, to the father? You touch a lot of people with your music, man.
Nelly: Let me tell you something, man… I think motherfuckers [have] forgot. I ain’t never been one of them people to try and do that. But I see why people do it now. Because it’s like you couldn’t accomplish what you accomplish out here, without [fans]. I’m gonna have to say it. and it’s hard to say. But, I have to be one of the most underrated motherfuckers to ever be in this business.
TFM: How you gonna say that? You’ve got everything you want.
Nelly: Not materially...but credibly. You see what I’m saying?
Nelly: Credibly! You see what I’m saying? As far as, bringing something to the game that wasn’t there [before]. As far as, opening up the doors for people to recognize that there’s talent in these other areas outside of these major cities.
TFM: You MADE St. Louis.
Nelly: Yeah, but it was bigger than St. Louis. “Country Grammar” is from St. Louis but it ain’t just about St. Louis. Even before I came out with “Country Grammar” people said, He ain’t gonna do shit! HE CAN’T DO IT AGAIN…so I came out with “Nellyville” They like whatever…so I came out with “Sweat/Suit”. So now what? It’s like motherfuckers is waiting for you! It’s like somebody like you is waiting for someone to die. [Laughs] Yeah, eventually you’re gonna die…
TFM: But I ain’t dead, yet! [Laughing]
Nelly: Yeah!! [Laughing] You know what I’m saying?
TFM: I’ve got to ask this question, about the relationship with Ashanti. Is it on? Is it off? I’ve got to ask the question or the ladies are gonna kill me if I don’t.
Nelly: Ahhhhh…y’all know my answer. Anybody that’s been following me and Ashanti…Y’all know my answer. Y’all know her answer…we cool. [Laughs] You know what I’m saying? And that just it for us, man. I know people are like, “How come they don’t say this or that?” But, can you have SOMETHING to yourself?
Nelly: You know what I’m saying? Can we have SOMETHING to ourselves? Do you know what it’s like? And I get it…that being who you is THAT [way]. But we should be able to go in our house and shut our door...
TFM: And not have to worry about anything.
Nelly: And not have to worry about that. Now, I get it. When I step outside that door? I get it. Now when I shut my door?
TFM: That’s MY business.
Nelly: Let me stay in the house. You know what I’m saying? As long as I don’t bother nobody. That’s what THAT is.
TFM: Is there anything else you want to add? Are there any misconceptions out there on your behalf that you need to correct?
Nelly: Oh, I ain’t got no fucking baby by no stripper!
Nelly: Or by no young lady. Let me tell you something. First of all, I’m not a real judgmental type of person. Growing up the way I did? You GET life. Judgmental people are evil.
Nelly: Now…I could say, ”That’s something I would not do myself.” That’s just my opinion. But to judge somebody for the mistake or the things that THEY do? That’s crazy. So if I say that people say I have a baby by a stripper, it ain’t even about having a baby by a stripper. It’s like, YO! I AIN’T HAD A BABY BY NOBODY! Period!! It’s not like I’m gonna diss her like, “I ain’t got no baby by no stripper.“ Like I’m making a stripper seem “low” or some shit. These are people, Yo!
TFM: They got to earn money and they’ve got to make a living.
Nelly: Exactly. Like if I opened up your closet and no telling what the fuck [kind of] bones about to fall out that motherfucker…
TFM: It could be a graveyard. [Laughs]
Nelly: I’m not judgmental. I don’t look at people and say, “You’re a bad person for doing that.” That’s wack. I can have my opinion and say, “I wouldn’t do that.” But, I wouldn’t chastise you for doing it. Judgmental people are evil.You know what I’m saying? You can have your opinion on whether you’d do it or not. But to judge somebody? Let’s be honest… [Strippers] aren’t breaking no laws.
Nelly: And whether they like it or not…That profession has been here and its gonna stay here.
((( Audio Interview Below )))