Every summer's got an anthem, and the theme for sweltering days in the summer of 2002 just might be Nelly's “Hot in Herre.”
With suggestive lines like “It's getting hot in here/So take off all your clothes,” the song's taken on star status of its own this summer, paving the way for Nelly's hotly anticipated sophomore solo set.
Overall, Nellyville isn't quite as compelling as the St. Louis rapper's stunning 2000 solo debut Country Grammar, which sold more than eight million copies in the U.S. alone, and another million overseas. But it is a very playful party album, filled with cool 'n' sultry hip-hop rhythms, bouncing backbeats, and the man up front's free-flowing way with rhymes.
Besides “Hot in Herre,”Nelly seems certain to have several hits on his hands. There's a definite St. Louis vibe to the title track, a utopian vision of a perfect world, where all newborns get a half-a-mil, where there are plenty of cocaine-free and gun-free neighborhoods and where everyone has 40 acres, a pool, six bedrooms, four baths with a jacuzzi, and enough room to land a jet.
Nelly's got some star power on board for collaborations, the best being his duet with Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child, who sings the seductive hook on the sweet old-school soul song “Dilemma,” which sounds like a surefire hit.
Occasionally, the rapper seems lost while shooting for a harder edge, particularly in tracks such as “Roc The Mic—Remix,”where Nelly disses politically based rapper KRS-One. He's much better when he just lets the grooves take over, as they do in “Pimp Juice,” which sounds like a long lost outtake from either Prince or the early '70s Temptations.