Name at birth: Cornell Haynes, Jr.
Nelly became a hip-hop and pop superstar after the success of his solo 2000 release, Country Grammar. The album spawned three big hits (including "Ride Wit Me") and three Grammy awards and Nelly became an MTV favorite, recognized by a stylish band-aid on one cheek. His second effort, Nellyville, (2002) was equally successful. It included the hits "Dilemma" and "Hot in Herre" and was nominated for five Grammy awards, including Album of the Year. In 2004 Nelly released two albums at the same time, Sweat and Suit, and in September they briefly held the two top spots on the charts. Nelly has been equally active as a businessman; among other ventures, in 2003 he released his own energy drink called "Pimp Juice," and in 2004 he became a minority owner of the NBA's Charlotte Hornets basketball team. He is also the CEO of Derrty Entertainment, his own company formed in 2003.
Nelly has been publicly coy about his year of birth, and does not list it in his official biography. In 2003 a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper reported that he would celebrate his 25th birthday that year, giving him a birthdate of 1978. However, later reports seem to indicate clearly that the right year is 1974.