Nelly seems to recognize that 20 years is a long time, which is why he’ll soon be celebrating his debut album “Country Grammar,” which became two decades old on June 27.
He’ll spotlight the album by performing it in its entirety in a live, virtual 360-degree concert on July 25. The concert will be filmed in a Los Angeles studio through a partnership with MelodyVR, a virtual reality company. Viewers can watch the performance for free through MelodyVR’s mobile app.
Nelly first planned to celebrate the LP in a festival in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, however, COVID-19 ruined those plans. But the rapper wouldn’t let the virus take away his chance to celebrate his debut album in a major way.
“‘Why do it now?’ some people may ask. Anytime you get a chance to celebrate 20 years, you want to do something that hopefully you’ve never done before, and that’s kind of hard to do,” said Nelly in an Instagram video that showed him rehearsing, which is set to start at 9 p.m. Eastern Time. “We not going to play around. We just gon’ rock the album from top to bottom.”
“Country Grammar” spawned hit songs like “E.I.,” “Ride wit Me,” “Batter Up,” and the first single “Country Grammar,” which came with a memorable video that showed Nelly rapping in St. Louis in front of a big crowd.
The clip looked like a coming-out party for Nelly, his melodious style of rap, and the entire city.
“Country Grammar” went Diamond in 2016, which equates to 10 million or more copies sold, and it’s only the eighth hip-hop album to reach that achievement.
“I think it allowed people from not just New York, L.A. or Atlanta, places that were already established, to believe that they could be a major player in this game if they worked their a– off, and if they came up with something that was appreciated by everybody,” Nelly told Complex about how “Country Grammar” shifted things for his hometown.
“And not to say that I was first, because obviously we had such legends as Angela Winbush, Chuck Berry, and Ike and Tina [Turner],” he added. “But as far as hip-hop goes, we were able to come out when we came out and expand those boundaries of hip-hop as far as bringing in more listeners.”
In addition to the concert, on July 24 Nelly released a digital deluxe edition of “Country Grammar,” which contain bonus tracks “Icey,” “Come Over,” “Country Grammar Instrumental,” and “Ride Wit Me Instrumental.”
“Country Grammar” grabbed the No. 3 position on Billboard’s Top 200 charts when it dropped in 2000. The rapper played some of the songs from it in May when he faced Ludacris in a “Verzuz” battle.