Nelly On Why His Era Of Hip Hop Was The ‘Toughest Ever’: ‘I Had To Go Against DMX, Jay-Z, Eminem, Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, Luda’


Nelly On Why His Era Of Hip Hop Was The ‘Toughest Ever’: ‘I Had To Go Against DMX, Jay-Z, Eminem, Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, Luda’

What era of hip hop would you say had the toughest competition?

According to Nelly, it was the late ’90s to mid-2000s when rappers really had to show up with their best foot forward. During a teaser for an upcoming episode of LeBron James‘ Sports Emmy Award-winning talk series “The Shop,” Nelly chats about a time when the music industry, specifically the world of hip hop, was a lot more competitive. You may recall that the 49-year-old entertainer dropped his debut album “Country Grammar” in 2000. The project was an undeniable success, reportedly topping the US Billboard 200 chart for five consecutive weeks, and eventually became Diamond certified in the US.


However, the recognition the project received wasn’t enough to secure Nelly a nomination for Best New Artist at the Grammys. Explaining to show host Maverick Carter why he believes he wasn’t nominated, Nelly says,

“Well, first of all, I wasn’t even nominated for Best New Artist at the Grammys, understand that. Country Grammar was five million and I didn’t even get nominated as Best New Artist because my album came out in 2000, so I wasn’t even on the ballot in 2001.”

He continues,

“The great, talented, well-deserving Miss Alicia Keys won. And she should have won in 2001.”

Nelly did go on to earn three Grammys to date. Responding to a question of if he ever had a “chip” on his shoulder coming from St. Louis and seeing L.A. and New York rappers seemingly dominate the industry at the time, Nelly says,

“Godd*mn right. But you gotta understand, my era of music was the toughest era in hip hop ever. Ever!”

He adds,

“When I put out songs, I had to go against DMX, Jay-Z, Eminem, Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, Luda. All of us are fighting for one spot! So from ’99 to 2008-2010, it’s the hardest era ever to get records.”


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Nelly’s full interview is slated to debut Thursday (Mar. 7) at 9 am PT on the new YouTube channel for “The Shop.”

What are your thoughts on this entire situation? Tell us in the comments below! 

Authored by: Twila-Amoure McDaniel