Nelly was thrown into the KRS-One situation a few years ago and was rushed with opposition. With scrutiny coming from Chingy, Nelly has a chance to flex his seniority, his muscle, and his mouth.
But before the battle paint is spread, Nelly also takes time to reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King on his day, and also Nelly’s continued charity devotion. Here, we get two new sides of Nelly. In a very mature conversation, Nelly addresses why he dismisses Chingy’s commentary, and why he feels MLK is Hip-Hop-drenched relevant in our times.
AllHipHop.com: I know that you have recently donated a large sum of money to a Dr Martin Luther King charity, why is he special to you and what prompted you to do that?
Nelly: My whole life I have been learning about Dr. King and that is something that is embedded in our minds. We as black people have very few world icons and Dr. King was definitely one of them. He is one like if you have to do an essay you would do it on Dr. King or Malcolm X, because you are enthused about that. While everybody is choosing names out the hat your like give me Malcolm or Dr. King. I really wasn’t enthused about school, but when it came down to that I didn’t mind doing an essay about that. With Dr. King, you definitely believed what he was saying as far as the unity thing and time to over come. I mean what else can you say about Dr. King that hasn’t been said. He is the only brother we have a national holiday for. So that in itself speaks volumes. I wanted to contribute to his legacy. I wanted to be one of the names on the wall that helped with this project I definitely believed that it was time. I felt that it would have a great impact I was in Washington, directly across from Jefferson and people who have made this country. I definitely feel like he has made this country what it is today.
AllHipHop.com: Can you speak on your Tsunami Relief efforts?
Nelly: I think it is real f***ed up what happened. That is a tragedy beyond words. I stay probably like a good 30 miles from the arch downtown, and I can’t imagine water reaching me from the riverfront, and in order for it to reach me it would have to destroy so much. This is history. This is what will be in textbooks in years to come, it is not one of those incidents that was tragic, and people have to put it on a trivia card, but this is history. It doesn’t only effect the country it hit it affects the world. I do a lot of charity work, I am very much a focus point in my community, so I felt I had to do what I can. I don’t know how much of me doing what I am doing is going to help, but I know I tried. I was watching an interview with this young lady who said how she lost her child and husband, she said that she was holding her child and when she came up she didn’t have a child no more. That got to me. I have two shorties. So for me to have them in my hand, and to come above water and not have them anymore is like a nightmare. That made me feel like I had to do something.
AllHipHop.com: You also have your previous charities, right?
Nelly: Just us for Jackie is a stem cell donorship, [and it] is getting people to sign up - not just African Americans, but we do need more African Americans, because our bone marrow is more compatible then any other ethnic group on this planet, and could match so many. We are still doing the drives and my sister has not yet found a donor but we have been able to find donor for others, and hopefully save lives. I am working on the premier of The Longest Yard and we are putting something together were we have a premier in St. Louis, and all of the funds will be donated to the For Sure to Kids and Just us for Jackie. Adam Sandler and hopefully, Chris [Rock will] come down. Actually the Long and Sure album is coming out on my label, Dirty E&T so be checking for that.
AllHipHop.com: Would you like to comment on the so-called beef with Chingy?
Nelly: Where I was standing at from the jump, was me giving respect to those who have paved the way for what I was doing and the successes that I had. I always thanked people like LL, Grind, and everybody that helped make it happen. For me to hear him say that I have nothing to do with his success coming out of St. Louis - I am not asking him to say thanks to Nelly, don’t be corny, but when you’re in the magazine saying, ‘Nelly didn’t have nothing to do with me coming out from St. Louis’. So I was like, ‘That is cool, if that is how you want to look at it’. We have our own turmoil in our city, just like in every city as far as words being passed in the he say/she say mess. As far as my career has been, I don’t play into it. The “Boy” song off my album had already been out on my album and I was trying to figure out what person would call a press conference to say they have a diss record? I thought that you put the diss record in the streets and the streets tell you what is up. I didn’t know that you call a press conference to say you have a diss, and do the diss after you have seen and talked to me in Vegas. If you had a problem with me, you should have told me in Vegas, face to face as a man, because how are you going to be in my face and not even mention that? I had to find out on MTV News that Chingy has a diss record about Nelly. To my understanding, and you know I am not a battle rapper, but regardless I am from the streets, and you don’t call a press conference to handle your business. So I was like, ‘Okay little brother, I can see you’re desperate’. But if that is what he wants to do, alright. I understand battling is the essence of Hip-Hop. But I just don’t understand why he is sending people my way saying that he just want to talk.
AllHipHop.com: You had that one line on the album, do you think he blew it out of proportion?
Nelly: Yeah, I think he blew it out of proportion and let people fill up his head. Like the song says, ‘I like it how you do it right thur, you just so remember why you do that right thur’. That was my whole position so I was like, ‘Well he had a chance to tell me he had a problem with that when he saw me’.
AllHipHop.com: Where were you in Vegas?
Nelly: At the Radio Music Awards. My album came out in September the awards were in October; my album was out already and even earlier in St.Louis. So he had plenty of time to hear that and I am sure people brought it to his attention, so if he had a problem he could have said it face to face. If you feel you need someone to validate your credibility, then that means you had no credibility within yourself to begin with. See, I don’t need no one to validate what I have been through my whole life, because what I have been through I been through, so I can’t ask someone I have only known for two year to validate 28 years of my life. That was the same thing with the Ludacris thing. He was like, ‘Yo what’s going on, everybody is wondering what’s up?’ Ludacris came to my hotel room and said we ain’t got no beef between any one of us, and that was it. However, Chingy has a problem with standing up and being a man, and that is the only thing, but if this what he wants to do I will help him.
AllHipHop.com: Are you going to respond in a song?
Nelly: I have to, I am still a rapper, first. I can show you rumor contrary to what it is and I wouldn’t because he is not the first one to take shots at me. Had this been any other rapper, I would have brushed it off and kept it moving. But when I spoke to [him] face to face, [he] didn’t have none of the words [he was] saying on the diss album. But it is a desperate cry, and I am going to give him what he wants. He is in my city now; where I roll, and my stomping grounds. I could understand if he was from the East, the West, or even a different city in the Midwest, but you don’t do it in my city where my family, my cats and my peoples stay. I am not saying I am trying to take it outside of music, because that is not what I allocate and what I represent.
AllHipHop.com: Game had a line directed to you, what are your thoughts on that?
Nelly: Well, at the Vibe awards I saw Game asked him if he had a problem with me and he said no. I did the same thing with 50, and it was cool. But I don’t know if that is how they do - say one thing in your face, and another thing, but that is not what I do. If I tell you something in your face, then that is what I mean. I am not trying to be out here starting no wars or cause any more violence. Hip-Hop has enough issues right now, and I am not trying to add no fuel or allocate nothing. The point is that they are blatantly lying right now. You’re telling me one thing in my face and another on a diss record.