September 30, 2004


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If you”re a Nelly fan and you”re looking for some new grooves to bounce to on the dance floor, get ready for some Sweat.

If you”re not a Nelly fan, or happen to not like dancing, get ready for them anyway. This week, the hip-hop and pop 40 staple hits stores with his two albums, Sweat and Suit, which are both bound to be radio and dance floor favorites. Although you could put the phrase together and form ‘Sweat suit,’ Cornell Haynes Jr., better known as Nelly, is always ready to experiment with a little play on words. This is found throughout his album titles, song lyrics, or even his own name. He holds true to this mantra in Sweat.

As per usual, Nelly praises all things drugs, dance, and dame in the subjects found throughout his new work, and he doesn”t stand shy of a little autobiography and self worship either. Unsurprisingly, he highly praises the party scene, for, after all, that is what his songs are for.

In typical Nelly style, the artist”s new disk also has some big name duets. These include people like Christina Aguilera, Fat Joe, Murphy Lee, Missy Elliot, Jazze Pha, and Nelly”s own crew, the St. Lunatics. In fact, there are only about three songs on the whole soundtrack that Nelly dares to brave by himself with out accomplices in rhyme.

Indulging in a few clever variations from his usual material, Nelly also explores a bit of Latin and jazz beats on numbers like ‘Tilt Ya Head Back.’ As well, ‘Heart of a Champion’ employees NBC”s NBA theme as part of the song”s chorus. Through his lyrics and rhythm, Nelly seems to be trying to reaffirm his place as a powerful and moneymaking, force in the hip-hop scene, while still departing from some of his former characterizations. For example, he discusses his general narcissism and previous trademark, a band-aid on his cheek that was most likely not used for medical purposes, during the song ‘Na-Nana-Na,’ jamming that ‘And I done got so damn cocky I took that band-aid off,’

Still, despite the commonality of Nelly”s style and subject, I must admit this album had me pumped up and ready to hit the dance floor or the gym. In the end, Nelly”s bound to receive ample play time on the radio and in the clubs — in other words, we”re all going to be pretty sweaty.

3 Stars

Archived article by Nikki Gusz
Red Letter DAZE Contributor