Nelly’s “Country Grammar” Created Country And Rap’s Best Cross-Cultural Communication

The rap icon's 2000-released hit highlights two musical worlds joining forces and positively impacting the world at large

Double diamond selling, 3XGrammy-award-winning rapper Nelly headlines CMT Crossroads, joined by longtime friends and collaborators Florida Georgia Line, Kane Brown, Blanco Brown, and BRELAND. The concert special will premiere Wednesday, September 1st at 10p/9c exclusively on CMT.

In a way, the September 1-premiering and latest edition of CMT’s vaunted Crossroads program chronicles the emcee’s rise from a hook-loving tough-talking gangster to the pop-country adapting artist on his August 27-released Heartland EP. His country-hybrid success is not just highlighted by his 17-year old chart-topping country-rap hybrid single “Over And Over” with Tim McGraw. Considering that his debut single is entitled “Country Grammar,” maybe it’s worth looking back to his breakout beginnings to put together how his musical arc may have always had a direction where success that broadened his career into country music was always a possibility.

After the turn of the 21st century, Labor Day Weekend saw Nelly impressively achieve Billboard Hot 100 top-10 charting success for his debut mainstream single “Country Grammar.” In the sing-a-long rap track from the then St. Louis-based rap upstart, he pressed for being “let into” the levels of commercial success and crossover superstardom of iconic American billionaires like Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Audacious braggadocio has always been a hallmark of hip-hop stars. However, rap had never seen the likes of a “St. Lunatic” before.

The year 2000 saw the beginnings of an era where rap emerged into an even greater national phenomenon. The midwest had already seen cities like Cleveland, Chicago, and Detroit claiming local-to-national rap success. Curiously enough, for country fans, a listen to the song and view of the video of Chicago-based group Crucial Conflict’s 1994 track “Hay” shows what a preview of the style that inspired everything from “Country Grammar” to “Old Town Road” and so much more.

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