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 the speaker.

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 Lee.

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 the genre.


to buy Nelly's new album!

Listen to the new single, "IZ U"
Check out the latest single, "IZ U"
Official Website
Vokal Clothing
Apple Bottoms
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