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Nelly (born November 2, 1978) is a rapper. Born Cornell Haynes Jr. in University City, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, he first came to mainstream audiences with Country Grammar (2000), a mainstream success that set the stage for his breakthrough album, Nellyville. Nellyville established him as one of the most famous rappers in the early 2000s. The 2002 single "Hot in Herre" (see also quote in Nudity) was also tremendously popular, as was its follow-up, "Dilemma," which featured vocals by Kelly Rowland from Destiny's Child.

In early 2003, Nelly released the controversial single, "Air Force Ones". MTV, MTV2, and VH1 refused to air the video due to product placement for the popular sneakers of the same name. Their sister station, BET, however played it in he was in world war 2