Album review

Nelly : Nellyville

Nelly : NellyvilleNelly's 2000 debut Country Grammar was an exercise in how to cross over into the pop market without sacrificing your credible hip-hop roots. As well as selling absolutely bucket-loads, it spawned a stack of great singles; Country Grammer (Hot Shit) and E.I. among them.
    After taking time out with St. Lunatics for the Free City CD, Nelly returns with the on-form single Hot In Herre. Things are looking good for our first trip to Nellyville.

Well, the opening title track is pretty convincing, but the follow-up skit is unwelcome (and unfunny) after only four minutes.
    Hot In Herre rescues matters, but like a large number of tracks on Nellyville, its over-reliance on a simple hook means I'm tiring of it already. This problem is made even worse when Nelly attempts to recycle the memorable bits of former glories; never worse than on CG 2, which attempts to milk one drop from Country Grammar (Hot Shit).
    The lyrically banal Pimp Juice leads into one of Nellyville's highlights, Air Force Ones. Built on the kind of vocals loop that Blackstreet used to use so well, Air Force Ones is one track that doesn't outstay its welcome.
    On The Grind legitimately revives the energy of Country Grammar, before Nelly teams up with Destiny's Child's Kelly Rowland and *NSync's Justin Timberlake for Dilemma and Work It respectively. The former has already made a huge impact on US radio, and both tracks eclipse a lot of the earlier material.

Despite having a number of very strong tunes, Nellyville's highlights are surrounded by too much filler. At nearly 80 minutes in length, the quality is spread just a little too thin. At half the length this could have been a great album. As it is, Nellyville's a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there.

:: Rowan Shaeffer

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