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Nelly hits and misses with new releases

Courtney Wilson | Thursday, September 23, 2004

Multi-platinum superstar Nelly makes history this month as the first rap artist to release two separate CDs on the same day. Reminiscent of Outkast with “Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below,” it is designed to present two distinct sides of Nelly. So was this just a poor marketing ploy? I think not. Nelly proves successful with both albums debuting at the No. 1 and 2 positions on the U.S. charts. “Suit,” most notably the softer, more R&B style of the two albums, reigns slightly above the faster hip-hop attempt from “Sweat.” Fans may disagree with the double release, as it also means double the price, but have purchased them both nonetheless.”Sweat,” the more edgy, ‘dirrty south’ of the two, fails to live up to the standards that were set by its first single, “Flap Your Wings.” The first track “Heart of a Champion,” is a great start to a not so bumping album. It is one of those adrenaline pumping, Rocky reminiscing, everyone sing along type anthems you can never hear enough of. Another good beat doesn’t arrive until track number six, “Tilt Ya Head Back,” featuring Christina Aguilera, which is an obviously hit. The song mimics a Motown beat, and is, without a doubt, a contender for his next single release. Nelly takes us back to an 80s state of mind with the techno keyboard style beat echoing from the song “Playa.” The track also features a hot vocal collaboration with Missy Elliot and Mobb Deep. But the numerous collaborations are not enough to save this album. This CD doesn’t heat up nearly enough to make u ‘sweat.’Nelly puts on his suave “Suit” for the second CD, presenting what may be his sensitive side. This CD is chocked full with collaborations, which seem to work best for his songs. Smooth beats, soft raps and a little more vocal performance from Nelly are used to make this record stand high above that the lesser “Sweat.” “In My Life,” featuring Mase and Avery Storm is a stand out. The harmonies in this song are outstanding. Nelly tries to lay down some country grammar with popular country singer Tim McGraw in “Over and Over,” but instead the song, conveniently, just repeats the same lyrics ‘over and over again.’ The only thing you will want to know about this song is when it will end. And what better way to make a hit, then to borrow from a previous hit. “N Dey Say,” which is easily the best song on the album, borrows its beat from the old 80s Spandau Ballet song, “True.” If you’re down to your last $20 and you are deciding between the two, opt for “Suit.” You cannot go wrong with this CD.