We weren’t exactly ready for the Nelly invasion when it hit us, but boy was it well received when it did. Nelly dominated the early 2000’s, bringing a level of fun and steeze to hip-hop that was literally crafted for rolling up anywhere with the windows down. Watching his music videos now makes it seem like only yesterday we were bumping around in our cars and spending Friday afternoons airing ‘Just A Dream’ like we hadn’t heard it the past 20 consecutive Friday’s already. Nelly’s got hits that will just plain and simple, never get old.
Check out Nelly’s top 5 music videos of all time…
This video is the 2000’s. Going into a studio to get a set of grills done and flashing that smile with the chrome-like gleam effect. Nelly made the ‘grills’ trend wildly cool. Anyone else remember wrapping tin foil around their teeth and looking in the mirror? Just me? The video is nicely paired with the sound of bass-driven keyboard and hilarious lyrical puns:
“If I could call it a drink, call it a smile on the rocks”
“Open up my mouth and you see more carrots than a salad”.
4. ‘One and Only’
I love this tender 80’s lovesick ballad because it truly puts Nelly in a spotlight that challenges his normal scene. No screaming fans or endless drip of homies behind him; just Nelly looking powerful and beautiful on his own. This focus allows us to zone in on his vocal talents and the story he paints with his lyrics. The video is set in what looks like a museum of his childhood love. The feelings are sweet and angelic as we’re taken through this journey of innocent romance.
3. ‘Batter Up’, Nelly, St Lunatics
If you didn’t already get the analogy from the title, this is one big baseball metaphor. This 2001 track highlights Nelly’s rise to fame and making it to the ‘big leagues’. The scene is set perfectly. You’ve got a beautifully diverse melting pot of fans hanging out at the game on the classically made stands, there’s Nelly playing the game looking FINE as per, with beautiful cheerleaders in uniform bikinis not far behind him. The home run of the film is Actor Sherman Hemsley’s brief appearance as a sports announcer. 0.27-0.29 (my favourite snippet of the production) is him having a good jam behind the mic. The way he grooves is exceptionally infectious, and well worth the laugh.
2. ‘Dilemma’ ft. Kelly Rowland
This music video became a viral talking point for one skipped detail in the edit. What truly fascinated fans was Kelly Rowland’s mysterious use of excel in the video to send a text to Nelly. What I would like to know is how artists, producers, and editors alike looked over that rather miniscule but prominent detail in the production. How on Earth are you to send a text with excel. We’re happy to move past it though, on the basis this track is a Godsent tune.
‘Dilemma’ is more of an R&B ballad than your standard rap song, revealing both Nelly’s vocal (and emotional) versatility. This was also the first video in which I noticed Nelly wearing a bright white bandaid on his cheek, something that shows in quite a lot of his visual work. Initially, the reason for the bandaid was because of a basketball injury scar, but when the scar healed, Nelly wore the bandaid in honour of his friend ‘City Spud’ who was sentenced to 10 years in jail for a crime Nelly believes he did not commit.
“I know when he sees me on TV and sees me wearing this Band-Aid, he knows I’m wearing it for him.”
1. ‘Hot in Here’
“I was like/ Good Gracious/ ass is bodacious”. You know this had to sit at number one. It’s the classic 2002 Nelly, creating turn-ups that live on through generations. Set in a true club scene, filled with hot, sweaty, beautiful and empowered dancers giving it their all on the floor until early hours of the morning. Feelings of total freedom seep out of the untamed movement of the crowd. Pure energy. My favourite part about the film is when it gets so hot a literal fire begins to stir in the roof. The DJ stops the music for a brief second, and… they charge on. The raging nightlife is a huge contrast to where I’m currently sitting in a jumper, heater on, on the flat couch, full day of work behind me. But as we know, that’s the beauty of Nelly – he transports you back to the 80s/90s without you even moving. It’s good vibes or no vibes with this King.