Cornell Haynes Jr. a.k.a. Nelly made his global debut as a hip-hop recording artist in 2000. Superstar Nelly has been recognized as a trendsetter, go-getter, innovator and humanitarian. To date he has sold more than 35 million records. His soon to be released “Brass Knuckles” CD is expected to transcend the popularity of his previous offerings. An anxious fan base eagerly awaits his latest offering.
After introducing a captivating melody that caught listeners’ ears, Nelly’s first single, “Country Grammar (Hot S**T),” rocketed to the top of the charts and instantly put his hometown of St. Louis on the hip hop map. The LP of the same name topped Billboard for more than seven weeks and produced several other chart-topping singles including “E.I.,” “Batter Up” and “Ride Wit Me.” The release went on to sell more than 8 million copies worldwide. The LP also opened the door for the rest of his group members, The St. Lunatics, to follow in his footsteps and achieve their own individual successes.
Nelly’s follow-up, “Nellyville” solidified the University City, MO native as a bona fide force in the music industry. The quadruple-platinum album showcased Nelly’s versatility and creativity with singles such as “Dilemma” featuring Destiny’s Child member, Kelly Roland, the infectious “Hot In Herre,”
“Air Force Ones” and “Pimp Juice.” The latter single launched the business savvy rapper into the sports beverage industry with a popular energy drink of the same name.
Ever the marketing genius, Nelly, the unofficial “Ambassador of St. Louis,” set music history in 2004 with the simultaneous releases of “Sweat” and “Suit.” The CDs, which both went platinum, marked the first time a hip hop recording artist released two CDs on the same date. “Suit” also marked the collaboration with country music star Tim McGraw on “Over & Over.” The innovative song is Nelly's fourth No. 1 record giving him the most by a male artist in the Top 40 format and ties him for most No. 1's overall with Mariah Carey, Avril Lavigne, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera and Alanis Morissette.
In between making hit records, Nelly made his major film debut in the commercial success, “Longest Yard.” Nelly’s acclaimed role showed he could hold his own with box-office heavyweights Burt Reynolds, Adam Sandler and Chris Rock.
Throughout his career, Nelly, born Cornell Haynes, Jr., has remained a humble and accessible philanthropist, generously lending his time and efforts to several causes. Those causes include 4Sho4Kids Foundation (www.4sho4kids.org), dutifully headed by executive director, Chalena Mack. The mission, dedication to improving the quality of life for children born with developmental disabilities (emphasis on Down’s syndrome) and children born addicted to drugs. Ms. Mack also manages Jes Us 4 Jackie (www.jesus4jackie.com), a foundation committed to the education of African-Americans about the need for bone marrow and stem cell transplant donation. Although Nelly lost his beloved sister, Jackie Donahue, (the inspiration for the foundation) to leukemia, he remains dedicated to and supportive of both organizations.
A savvy businessman, Nelly’s entrepreneurial endeavors include two highly successful clothing labels (Vokal and Apple Bottoms). Additionally, he continues to oversee the successes of several artists signed to his Derrty ENT label. Along with Bob Johnson of BET fame, NBA Basketball legend Michael Jordan and others; Nelly is one of the owners of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats. He recently opened Skybox, a popular Sports Bar and Grill located in his hometown St. Louis on Laclede’s Landing.