Spring Concert announced: Nelly

By Courtney Flagg

Senior Editor

Bucknell Concert Committee will bring American Grammy Award winning hip hop artist Nelly to campus on Friday, April 13. The mash-up duo TimeFlies will open for Nelly. The doors will open at 7:00 p.m, and the show will start at 8:00 p.m. Tickets go on sale Monday, Feb. 20 in the LC Mall, and will cost $25 for students. General public tickets will be available for purchase on Feb. 20 at $30 a piece.

“We chose Nelly based on availability and what we thought would work on campus. We’ve had a little bit of a challenge this semester with availability, pricing and who is touring. We actually put in a few bids that didn’t work. So finding such a great artist this late in the game, we just jumped at the opportunity,” Zack Beltran ’13 of the Bucknell Concert Committee said.

Nelly was born Nov. 2, 1974 as Cornell Iral Haynes, Jr., in Austin, Texas, but grew up in St. Louis, Mo. In high school, Nelly formed the rap group St. Lunatics, which consisted of Nelly and other hip hop artists Murphy Lee, Ali, City Spud and Kyjuan. The group failed to attain a record deal and Nelly decided to go solo.

Nelly was signed to Universal Records in 1999 and the label released Nelly’s debut album “Country Grammar” in 2000, which debuted at the No. 3 spot on the Billboard 200 and peaked at No. 1. Recognizable singles from the album include “E.I.” and “Ride Wit Me.” “Country Grammar” was certified as having gone nine times platinum in April of 2004 by the Record Industry Association of America.

Nelly’s sophomore album “Nellyville” was released in 2002 and debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 200 Music Albums. The lead single, “Hot in Herre” was a number-one hit and won Nelly the Grammy Award for Best Male Rap Solo Performance in 2003. Other popular singles off the album include “Dilemma” featuring Kelly Rowland, “Work It” featuring Justin Timberlake, “Air Force Ones” featuring Murphy Lee and the St. Lunatics and “Pimp Juice.” “Nellyville” was certified as having gone six times platinum by the RIAA.

Nelly contributed the single “Shake Ya Tailfeather” featuring Diddy and Murphy Lee to the “Bad Boys II” film soundtrack in 2003. In 2004, the single won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.

In the fall of 2004, Nelly released dual albums entitled “Sweat,” a rap-based album and “Suit,” an R&B-based album. “Suit” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard albums chart while “Sweat” debuted at No. 2. Nelly broke barriers with his ballad “Over and Over” from the album “Suit” due to his unlikely duet with country music star Tim McGraw. In the winter of 2005 Nelly rereleased a compilation of tracks from “Sweat” and “Suit” called “Sweatsuit.” The new album had three new tracks including the No. 1 hit “Grillz.”

“Brass Knuckles,” Nelly’s sixth album, was released in the fall of 2008 despite several delays in production. Notable singles from the album include “Party People” featuring Fergie and “Body on Me” featuring Akon and Ashanti. 

Nelly’s most recent album, entitled “5.0,” dropped in November of 2010. Artists featured on the album include T-Pain, Chris Brown, Akon, Plies, T.I., Kelly Rowland, Birdman, DJ Khaled, Avery Storm and Diddy-Dirty Money. The most popular song off the album was “Just a Dream,” which is Nelly’s highest charting song since “Grillz.”

Nelly is also known for his status as an entrepreneur. In 2003, Nike and Nelly agreed on a one-year deal to release a limited-edition sneaker called the “Air Derrty.” He later signed a shoe deal with Reebok. Nelly has been a part of the advertising campaigns for Got Milk? and Ford Motor Company. His energy drink “Pimp Juice” was very successful, selling one million cans during the first two months after its introduction in the summer of 2003. Many people, however, criticized the name of the drink, mainly for it’s misogynistic name connotation. Nelly owns the female clothing line Apple Bottoms popularized by Flo-Rida in his song “Low” in which he mentions the brand. Nelly also owns Vokal, a clothing line catering to men.

Nelly runs the non-profit organization “4Sho4Kids Foundation.” The organization is dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with developmental disorders. Nelly also began the “Jes Us 4 Jackie” campaign in 2003 with his sister Jackie, who was diagnosed with leukemia. The campaign looks to educate African-Americans and other minorities about the need and importance of bone marrow transplants. Sadly, Nelly’s sister passed away from the disease in 2005.

“I think for our age group, Nelly is a really popular artist. He is a Grammy winner and had a lot of hits that Bucknell students are familiar with. I also think that it will be a really fun, upbeat and exciting concert for the community,” Beltran said.

Nelly tried his hand at acting, taking part in the 2005 remake of “The Longest Yard” with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. He also appeared in episodes of “CSI: NY” and “90210.” 

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