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Album Review

Nelly's decision to release his Sweatsuit project as two respective albums, Sweat and Suit — the former clubby and insincere, the latter refined and mannered — is somewhat of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it's nice to pick whichever side of Nelly's persona you prefer, whether in general or at any particular moment; on the other hand, the separate-album concept makes for two very one-dimensional albums that begin to sound formulaic by their respective conclusions. The thing is, Nelly has plenty of great songs here on these two albums. Quality certainly isn't an issue — he works with a who's who of pop-rap circa 2004, from the Neptunes to Christina Aguilera to Snoop Dogg to Missy Elliott, and ends up with a wealth of certified and could-be hits. Yet by sorting them into two different categories and then lumping them together onto two separate CDs, the diversity at hand is nullified. Granted, this two-styles, two-discs approach worked well for OutKast on Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (and less well, but well nonetheless, for R. Kelly on Happy People/U Saved Me), but it doesn't work so well for Nelly. His Sweatsuit recordings are diverse, for sure, but OutKast he isn't, nor is he the Pied Piper. Rather, Nelly is essentially a pop star who happens to rap, and as such, he specializes in calculated pop formulas — namely clubby, cocky party songs (previously "Hot in Herre," presently "Flap Your Wings") and sweet, sultry love songs (previously "Dilemma," presently "My Place"). And by sorting those two formulas into respective albums, the calculation becomes overt and comes across as formulaic to discerning listeners. The key, then, is to not be a discerning listener: it's best to just let these songs play and take them for what they are — well-done popcraft.

The Sweat disc in particular features, at least, a half-dozen songs that could be smash hits, whether on radio, on MTV, or in clubs: "Na-Nana-Na," "Flap Your Wings," "Tilt Ya Head Back," "Grand Hang Out," "Playa," and "Boy" are all first-rate party rap, on a par with anything else out there on the market in 2004. The others are above average also, resulting in a damn impressive lineup of songs. But they're all distinctly clubby and therefore get a little tiring after a while. It'd be nice to have some of the steamy slow jams from Suit interspersed throughout, if only for the sake of variety, not to mention an occasional (heavy) breather. Still, good music is good music, and Nelly comes up a winner here on Sweat. In no shape or manner is this disc a disappointment — it lives up to its billing and then some. Had Nelly blended these songs with those of Suit into a double-disc buffet or, better yet, cherry-picked them for a single-disc bouquet, he'd have a truly amazing album. (Doing just that on your PC or Mac is highly recommended, by the way, and quite fun.)

Customer Reviews


Highly successful and possibly the best STL rapper, Nelly is back and creatively releasing two albums, Sweat and Suit, party and business. Here is the party side. Heart Of A Champion: Philip Duckett's production is excellent, very much fitting as Lincoln University Vocal Ensemble shines at the hook. One of the best songs created by Nelly. 5/5 Na-NaNa-Na: Jazze's street banger is nice, as Nelly creates a catchy hook and his energetic lyrics work. 3.5/5 Flap Your Wings: Hook can be annoying, but The Neptunes production is very tribal and Nelly does a good party track here. 4/5 American Dream: Decent track with the St. Lunatics, as they talk about the life. 3/5 River Don't Runnn: Stephen Marley's hook is assisting as well as Doe's production. Reggae feel to it. 3.5/5 Tilt Ya Head Back: Production is classy club, as Christina Aguilera shines with Nelly on this party filled track. 4.5/5 Grand Hang Out: Fat Joe, Young Tru & Remy Ma join for this chill track. 3/5 Getcha Getcha: One of my favorites, production was fitting and the hook is catchy as are the lyrics. Feel good fun right here. 4/5 Another One: Decent track, production was more low key. 3/5 Spida Man: Creepy production, skipper. 2/5 Playa: The Alchemist has a club feel production as Mobb Deep and Missy add on to the nice feel. 3.5/5 Down In Da Water: Decent track with Ali and Gube Thug. 3/5 Boy: Lil Flip and Big Gipp join on this boasting/threatening track. 2.5/5 Nelly's Sweat side is fun at times, there are some tracks that are just average or skippers, but there are moments of greatness. "Heart Of A Champion" gets things started on a high note, followed by street banger "Na-NaNa-Na" and club "Flap Your Wings". Reggae's "River Don't Runn" works as well as pop "Tilt Ya Head Back", as catchy "Getcha Getcha" and club fun "Playa" round out the good. "Spida Man" and "Boy" try for toughness, but are skippers. The other tracks are decent feel good tracks. Rating 7.5 out of 10

great song

heart of a champion is really good. good song to get ur head in the game


This album is actually pretty good. Big names are Lil Flip, Fat Joe, and Mobb Deep. The best record is "Grand Hang Out".


Born: November 2, 1974 in St. Louis, MO

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A savvy pop-rapper with crossover appeal, Nelly seemed like a novelty when he first debuted in 2000 with "Country Grammar (Hot...)," yet he was no one-hit wonder, consistently returning to the pop charts with smash hits like "Hot in Herre," "Grillz," and "Dilemma." His universality was partly rooted in his hometown -- the Gateway City, officially known as St. Louis, Missouri -- which set him apart from all of the prevailing rap styles of his time. He wasn't from the East or West Coast, nor was he...
Full Bio
Sweat, Nelly
View In iTunes
  • $5.99
  • Genres: Hip-Hop/Rap, Music, R&B/Soul, Rock
  • Released: Sep 13, 2004
  • Parental Advisory

Customer Ratings


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