Is it hot in here, or is it just Nelly? Cornell Haynes Jr. was born on November 2, 1974 in Houston, Texas but raised in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri. He started his music career as part of the rap group St. Lunatics, who had a local hit with 'Gimme What You Got' and was with the band until he was signed as a solo act to Universal records in 2000. His debut album, Country Grammar, spawned hits with the title track and 'Ride Wit Me' and debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 chart. His follow-up effort, 2002's Nellyville was also a smash, with the number one single 'Hot in Herre' and collaborations with Justin Timberlake ('Work It') and Kelly Rowland ('Dilemma.') The album won two awards at the 2003 Grammys; one for Best Male Rap Solo Performance, and another for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for 'Dilemma.' Nelly followed up that success with a pair of smash albums, Sweat and Suit, released simultaneously on September 14, 2004. Suit, an R&B-oriented album, debuted at number one on the Billboard albums chart, and Sweat, a rap-oriented album, debuted at number two in the same week. His biggest (and most unlikely) hit came off of Suit, the ballad 'Over and Over,' a duet with country music star Tim McGraw. He also performed duets with Mariah Carey in 2005 and Janet Jackson in 2006. Nelly made his big screen debut as a football-playing prisoner in the 2005 film The Longest Yard with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock and has been working on his latest album, Brass Knuckles, which is due for release in June of 2008. His music may be from the 'Dirty South' but Nelly is cleaning up with his career.
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