Nelly -- Da Da Derrty Versions (The Reinvention)
The old adage goes: "if it ain't broke,
don't fix it." With a catalogue of Top 10 hits, platinum plus
selling records, and Grammy, BET, Source, MTV and Billboard
awards and nominations, that saying surely applies to St.
Louis super star Nelly (Cornell Haynes). However, once you've
introduced the world to the inimitable "Midwest Swing," what
else is there to do? You create a remix album. Pause. This
is not an album of recycled tracks. Nelly's newest offering,
Da Derrty Versions, is a reinvention album.
On Da Derrty Versions (The Reinvention), the St. Lunatics'
head honcho pushes the proverbial envelope by taking selections
from his inventory of hits and musically transforming them.
You may have thought you loved "Country Grammar" or "Dilemma"
in their original states, but with the help of some of his
colleagues, Nelly virtually recreates the songs that make
the whole world sing. Whether it's with innovative vocals,
fresh instrumentals or both, Da Derrty Versions prevails as
the brand new blueprint for the remix album.
"Basically, we already had the formula for the songs the first
time around," Nelly explains, "all we're doing is reinventing
the idea of these songs, playing with them a little bit."
Nelly baptizes his songs in dirty water via production from
the mayor of Mississippi music, David Banner, "Air Force Ones"
from Nelly's sophomore LP, Nellyville and "E.I." from his
debut album Country Grammar. The sneaker ditty takes on a
new form with a rock-influenced track and additional vocals
from 8 Ball and Banner. From the aggressive instrumentation
to the hard-hitting guitar riffs, "Air Force Ones" charges
with the velocity of a speeding 18-wheeler truck. That same
voluminous energy is displayed on the new "E.I." where Banner
provides a vibrant bounce beat that virtually jumps out of
Additionally, "Pimp Juice," initially released on the Nellyville
album, flows anew with pristine vocals from R&B legend Ron
Isley. The sexy, saxophone-ridden instrumental joined with
Isley's smooth singing breathes new life into the already
heated hit. And speaking of temperatures rising, longtime
Nelly producer "Jay E" Epperson and fellow Basebeats members
Wally and Jayson signed on again for the remix of "Hot In
Herre" - another track first featured on Nellyville.
And deeply rooted in the lyrics of the new-fangled "Ride Wit
Me" (featuring City Spud), rests Nelly's diverse musical interests:
he integrates an interpolation of Grammy-winning singer/songwriter
John Mayer's popular debut hit single "No Such Thing." "I
listen to all types of music," Nelly explains. "I was really
was into this song, so I wanted to find a way to use it."
Meanwhile, members of Nelly's new entertainment dynasty, Derrty
Entertainment, step to the plate on the remixed "Batter Up."
The bass-heavy, slightly slow tempo instrumental draws from
the Jefferson's, and features lyrics from up-and-coming Derrty
Entertainment artists King Jacob, Prentiss Church, Tru and
Chocolate Tai along with fellow St. Lunatics Ali and Murphy
The lead single "Iz U," produced by Nelly's in-house beat
making machine, Basement Beats, embraces and renovates The
People's Court theme song. A true club anthem, "Iz U" is constructed
so well that the song from the court case series is practically
undetectable to the untrained ear. "'Iz U' is crazy because
it's an older song that I'd completed, but never put out,"
Nelly says. "But this time I did it over a little differently."
Other songs on the album include "Country Grammar" with E-40,
"#1" now featuring the Clipse and promising BET battle rap
winner and Fo' Reel label-mate Postaboy, along with re-worked
versions of "Dilemma" featuring Kelly Rowland and Ali, and
"Work It" featuring Justin Timberlake.
A truly innovative feat, Derrty Versions... is the next level
of entertainment to come from Nelly. For an artist whose debut,
Country Grammar (2000) has sold over eight million albums.
Nellyville (2002) sold more than 6 million units, and the
St. Lunatics' Free City (2001) is platinum-certified.
In fact, Da Derrty Versions... is the second release from
Nelly's company, Derrty Entertainment, a new venture with
Universal Records. Derrty Entertainment was successfully launched
recently with its first release, Murphy's Law, from the Lunatics'
youngest member Murphy Lee.
In addition to his love of music, Nelly is committed to giving
back to St. Louis and the broader community. Several years
ago, he started 4sho4kids, a non-profit organization dedicated
to improving the quality of life for children born with developmental
disabilities and children born addicted to drugs.
Most recently, through 4sho4kids, Nelly and his sister Jackie
Donahue launched a national campaign, Jes Us 4 Jackie, to
find a bone marrow match for Jackie, who has leukemia. Part
of their goal is to increase awareness about the disease within
the African-American community and create awareness about
marrow transplants and the importance of donors. "I moved
around a lot when I was growing up, and I want to help kids,
so they might not have it as hard as I did," says Haynes.
In addition to the entertainment company and charity, Nelly
is also growing into a successful entrepreneur. He has found
success with his multi-million dollar clothing company, Vokal,
and recently launched a women's line called Applebottoms.
Nelly not only co-owns the clothing companies, he designs
and is active in promoting and marketing the brands. "You
could say I started Vokal when I was making and selling t-shirts
with my cousin in St. Louis, way back before the St. Lunatics
really got off the ground," says Nelly. But with Da Derrty
Versions (The Reinvention), Nelly, a baseball, basketball
and all-around sports enthusiast, once again demonstrates
his main love: music. And the shining sensation from the Midwest
reinvents that which spins: a remix record that transcends