With six million records sold, Nelly turns his attention to this debut album from his crew, who appeared on a few Country Grammar tracks. The production team of Jason "Jay E" Epperson and his Basement Beats return for more bling-blingy bounce, and the ’Tics rap mostly about what they’ve bought with the money Nelly now has to lend them.
What gives this the edge over most other conspicuous-consumption rap, though, is regional flava and the presence of the main man himself on more than half the tracks. The home-town ambassadorship is fresh here because these guys are coming straight outta St. Louis, a place we rarely, if ever, hear from in rap. Murphy Lee’s sardonic drawl and Jay-E’s collection of electro barnyard animals on the hilarious "Midwest Swing" parody bicoastal misconceptions about the Midwest; Kyjuan bucks urban genre expectations by praising the Arch City’s wide open spaces. As for Nelly, he stands out among his brethren — the way he achy-breaks into a hefty sing-song saves the more sonically impoverished tracks like "S.T.L." and "Summer in the City."
Issue Date: November 29 - December 6, 2001
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