Born Cornell Haynes, Jr., on November 2, 1974, the hip hop superstar “Nelly” grew up in St. Louis. As a teenager he formed the “St. Lunatics” with high school friends Big Lee, Kyjuan, Murphy Lee, and City Spud.
In 2000, Nelly’s solo debut “Country Grammar” topped the Billboard charts and sold more than nine million copies. The album , which featured the St. Lunatics, the Teamsters, Lil Wayne, and Cedric the Entertainer, generated four hit singles – “E.I.,” “Ride wit Me,” “Batter Up,” and the Top 10 title track.
His 2002 follow-up, the multi-platinum “Nellyville,” included the No. 1 single “Hot in Herre,” a song that earned Nelly a Grammy Award for Best Male Rap Solo Performance. He credits his hometown with having a big influence on his music and his rapping style, which is best described as a combination of country/urban-meets-Southern drawl/Midwestern twang.
“St. Louis has a lot of blues and jazz history – it’s a soulful place, and I incorporate that,” he says. “I’m a lifelong fan of Chuck Berry. I admire his creativity, innovative style and commitment to the St. Louis community. Mr. Berry’s legendary accomplishments here and abroad have greatly influenced me as an artist. I proudly boast a great deal of respect for Chuck’s energy and integrity and strive to live up to the standards he sets for all of us.”