Nelly (Universal)

One verse from Nelly could get any party jumping, whether at a hip-hop club or a PTA meeting. The rapper's broad, bounce-with-me appeal, which led to 8 million sales of his 2000 debut, Country Grammar (with its hits "Ride wit Me" and the title tune), makes Nellyville a place where everyone can "get up up on the dance floor." This disc's first single, the No. 1 smash "Hot in Herre," is the perfect summer jam, with its funky go-go groove interpolated from Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers' 1979 hit "Bustin' Loose." The St. Louis native, whose real name is Cornell Haynes, imbues his raw but good-natured raps with a distinctive southern drawl and a delivery so melodious that at times he's practically singing. Although there is a sameness to some of the beats and, at over 76 minutes, the album is too long, there is plenty here to make you, as one song title orders, "Put Your Hands Up."

Bottom Line: A sure-fire party platter

  • Contributors:
  • Chuck Arnold,
  • Ralph Novak,
  • Kyle Smith,
  • Sona Charaipotra.