Must Be the Money: Nelly's Biggest Hits

Nelly in 2000
Kevin Winter/ABC/ImageDirect

Must Be the Money: Nelly's Biggest Hits

The first summer of the 2000s was seemingly dominated by an unlikely rapper: a Texas-born, St. Louis-raised emcee named Cornell Haynes, Jr. but known to the world as Nelly. His fast-paced, singsong flow was behind some of the decade's best-known party starters - here are 10 tailor-made to get your throwback on!

"Country Grammar" (2000)

While some of Nelly's hip-hop contemporaries were keen to rap about guns or drugs, Nelly was keen to offer listeners an alternative. "I've been there. I've lived that. My past was dark enough for me," he said in a 2002 interview. No surprise, then, that his debut single - with a chorus based on a popular schoolyard clapping game - was a smash, reaching No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100.

"Ride wit Me" (2000)

A hit at school dances everywhere in the early '00s, this lighthearted, acoustic-powered number offers a little old-school flavor (a reference to DeBarge's '80s jam "I Like It") and a guest verse from City Spud, Nelly's half-brother and part of the rapper's hometown crew, the St. Lunatics.

"Hot in Herre" (2002)

With Country Grammar a bona fide hit, follow-up Nellyville had high expectations - and met them easily. With a beat by The Neptunes and a hot (so hot!), memorable chorus, this funky banger gave Nelly another Top 10 hit.

"Dilemma" (2002)

While this duet with Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child became Nelly's first No. 1 hit in both the U.S. and the U.K., it's probably best known as the song in the video where Kelly tries to send a text through Microsoft Excel.

Read More: Songs of Summer 2002: Nelly, "Hot in Herre" and "Dilemma"

"Air Force Ones" (2002)

Another cut with the St. Lunatics in tow, this ode to Nike's coolest kicks became yet another Top 5 hit on the pop charts.

"Shake Ya Tailfeather" (2003)

Nelly and fellow St. Lunatic Murphy Lee joined forces with P. Diddy for this high-energy cut heard in the blockbuster Bad Boys II. It became Nelly's second No. 1 hit and his third (after "Hot in Herre" and "Dilemma") to win a Grammy Award.

"My Place" (2004)

After so many hits, Nelly took 2004 to do one of the classic top-of-the-game moves: release two albums at once. Sweat was for the clubs, while Suit was a little more laid-back; of the two, it boasted more hits, like this Top 5 lover's jam featuring singer Jaheim.

"Over & Over" (2004)

Suit's next single was a mellow ballad with a surprising guest appearance: country superstar Tim McGraw. "Over and Over" became another international Top 5 smash and opened the door for Nelly's ongoing collaborations with country acts like Florida Georgia Line.

"Grillz" (2005)

For those who couldn't pick between Sweat and Suit, Nelly dropped Sweatsuit in 2005, featuring the best of both albums plus new tracks like this ode to iced-out dental jewelry with Memphis rapper Paul Wall, one of the genre's most notable grill wearers. It became Nelly's third No. 1 hit.

"Just a Dream" (2010)

Nelly kept a low profile during the back end of the '00s, but had one more solo appearance in the Top 5 with "Just a Dream," which mixed all the classic elements of Nelly's hottest hits, from his melodic lyrical delivery to a powerful beat co-produced by Rico Love, who's worked with heavy hitters like Usher and Beyoncé.

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