We All We Got! | A Midwest Mindset by Omega Mcbride

Greed, hate, envy but cake will do

F*ck the game don't let the game F*ck you
Follow the rules, stay cool & rock jewels
Greed, hate, envy but cake will do

It was late 1999, almost 2 decades ago. The end of the world was supposedly approaching and people were now finally taking Prince’s “Party Like It’s” 1999 Hit Single literally, overcrowding stores to stock up on water or whatever they could get their hands on in case this was really it. Around the world, hardly anyone knew what to initially expect from the direction the culture would take post-12am and on past January 1, 2000 but it was clear there would be no Global Blackout, Apocalypse or Second Coming occurring to end our existence here on earth.

What did become obvious pretty quickly, however, was that Hip Hop Culture & the world of Rap were in for a refreshing surprise, in the form of an unexpected or most unfamiliar kind of facelift. Not everyone would agree with this newly, fine-tuned approach to furthering the reach of the musically driven culture but it would soon prove to be an inevitable wave that no one could either stop nor Slo’ Down.

Cornell Haynes aka Nelly released his Hit Single Country Grammar, just as the new millennium was underway on February 29, 2000. Following the smash success of this “Down, down baby” lullaby latent tune, he released his highly anticipated debut album of the same name. Recently certified Diamond (10 million albums sold in the US) in 2016, Country Grammar was a sound unlike anything which had reached commercial success up until that time, across genres; a cohesive & cleverly composed fusion of Rap with an intentionally intertwined Pop feel within the vocal delivery, as well as the acclaimed production.

It’s impossible to hear today’s Hip Hop/Pop music and not give credit where it’s rightfully due, as it pertains to the sounds or risks we hear artists vocally take today and where the origins of such vocal precision in melodic “rap-sing” delivery may’ve first been embossed into the Culture or made to be, for lack of a better term, DOPE. Nelly stepped out of the shadows with a clearly cut, courageous direction in which his confidence alone sold fearlessly to onlookers – listeners and innovative appreciators alike. He was somehow effortlessly able to fan the white flames of success, due in major part to his crossover infused approach to maintaining a melodic flow throughout his musical appearances (which seamlessly set him apart from everyone doing anything, at the time) & a brotherhood of a force presented by the worldwide appeal given off by his group affiliation with hometown favorites - the St. Luntatics. Their collective effort would eventually open the door for other Missouri artists like Chingy, Jibbs, J-kwon & others who would have a hand in putting St. Louis’ stamp on the Hip Hop music map.

It was Nelly’s own smart work in dedicating himself to his writing & perfecting his craft in versatility, along with his relationship with the St. Lunatics, which became the Achilles heel for the longevity seen in Nelly’s career and relevancy, today. Nelly is said to have truly lived out their “We All We Got” slogan as well, as can be heard on popular group member Murphy Lee’s Hit single What Da Hook Gon Be, by splitting all his record deals 50/50 with the St. Lunatics. What Nelly ate, the St. Lunatics ate. When Nelly was in the room with A-List Celebrity’s, so were the St. Lunatics. His opportunities were also theirs. Collaboration, effort, humility and loyalty must have been a few of the ingredients in the glue holding this St. Louis Missouri hailing machine together. Being void of Greed, Hate & Envy can clearly breed success. The hope is that we can look back on this, how Nelly did it & see us doing even better moving forward.

With recent commercial Pop artists, such as: Flo Rida sing-rapping about Apple Bottom Jeans “with the fur” – Nelly is not only a certified legend in a lane lit by himself and his team, but also an innovator who deserves to be humbly acknowledged for spearheading a direction in the evolving sound of Hip Hop Music which has helped to keep our culture alive. Indeed, forever and all day, We All We Got! -OmegaMcBride

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