Cornell Haynes, Jr. (born November 2, 1974), better known by his stage name Nelly, is an American rapper and singer.
A member of hip hop group St. Lunatics, Nelly was signed to Universal Records in 2000. Nelly's debut album, “Country Grammar” was released that year, and explores the genres of Southern rap and Pop rap. “Country Grammar” was certified nine times platinum in the United States, and was a mainstream success, debuting at #3 on the Billboard 200 and went on to peak at #1. He released the single "Country Grammar (Hot Shit)" and it peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart and #1 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. Nelly also released the single "Ride wit Me," featuring fellow St. Lunatic City Spud. The song peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became his highest charting single at that time.
The following year, St. Lunatics released their first album as a group, “Free City,” which received a platinum certification in the United States. Nelly released his second studio work, “Nellyville” in 2002. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. It was also nominated for "Album of the Year" at the 2003 Grammys. The album was certified 6× platinum by the RIAA. Its lead single "Hot in Herre" was a #1 hit. Other singles included "Dilemma" featuring Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child, "Work It" featuring Justin Timberlake, "Air Force Ones" featuring Murphy Lee and the St. Lunatics, "Pimp Juice", and "#1." The album was certified 6x multi-platinum. "Hot in Herre" won the Grammy Award for Best Male Rap Solo Performance in 2003.
Nelly released a remix album in 2003, titled “Da Derrty Versions: The Reinvention.”
In 2004, Nelly released two albums, “Sweat” and “Suit.” “Suit,” an R&B-oriented album, debuted at #1 on the Billboard albums chart, and “Sweat,” a rap-oriented album, debuted at #2. From “Suit,” the slow ballad "Over and Over," an unlikely duet with country music star Tim McGraw, became a crossover hit.
In the winter of 2005 “Sweatsuit,” a compilation of tracks from “Sweat” and “Suit” with three new tracks was released. "Grillz," produced by Jermaine Dupri, was a #1 hit. To date, both albums have sold over 5 million copies in the U.S.
“Brass Knuckles,” Nelly's fifth studio album, was issued in 2008 and reached #3 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. "Party People,” which features Fergie, was released as the first single from the album and peaked at #40 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. "Stepped on My J'z" which features Ciara and Jermaine Dupri, was released as the second single peaking at #90 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. "Body on Me" which features Akon and Ashanti, was released as the third single and peaked at #42 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
In 2010, Nelly released the album “5.0.” The lead single, "Just a Dream," went to #3 on the Hot 100 chart and was certified platinum in the U.S. The second single, "Move That Body" featuring T-Pain and Akon. The third single "Gone" is the sequel to Nelly's 2002 worldwide #1 hit "Dilemma," and also featured Rowland.