Personnel: Nelly; Christina Aguilera, Fat Joe, Jasper Cameron, Jazze Pha, Ali , Missy Elliott, Mobb Deep, Murphy Lee, Remy, St. Lunatics, Stephen Marley, Big Gipp, Lil' Flip, Lincoln University Vocal Ensemble, Young Tru, Gube Thug.
After a pair of multi-platinum records made Nelly the instant icon of St. Louis rap, the man who found the perfect balance of pop and hip-hop still had a surplus of music to let out. So with his 2004 efforts, Nelly decided to split up his new compositions into two albums--the down-and-dirty, raw club jams and the smooth, refined songs, respectively SWEAT and SUIT.
SWEAT opens with "Heart of a Champion," a powerful, sports-referencing piece of adrenaline-pumping hip-hop that samples, of all things, John Tesh's "Roundball," the ubiquitous theme music for NBC Sports. From the ballfield, Nelly moves the party to the club for most of the remaining tracks, with pure dance cuts like "Na-Nana-Na" and the crunk-flavored "Flap Your Wings." He breaks stride for a more sinister 1970s-funk vibe on "Tilt Ya Head Back," featuring a soul-stirring vocal turn from Christina Aguilera. "Playa" goes for a smooth groove, with Mobb Deep and Missy Elliott dropping by to cast a mood both dark and sweet. For SWEAT, Nelly clearly intended to create a loose, unguarded party atmosphere, and with help from his friends and the best producers in the game, he succeeds.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (p.97) - 3 1/2 stars out of 5 - "SWEAT is the street album, playing up his hip-hop clout....Proving Nelly as one of the most clever and effusive pop minds around..."
Entertainment Weekly (p.75) - "SWEAT works its way through all the hallmarks we've come to expect from Nelly records..." - Grade: B-
Vibe (p.184) - 3 discs out of 5 - "Showing off his wilder side on SWEAT, Nelly offers explicit yet infectious music..."
- Heart Of A Champion - (featuring Lincoln University Vocal Ensemble)
- Na-Nana-Na - (featuring Jazze Pha/Jasper Cameron)
- Flap Your Wings
- American Dream - (featuring St. Lunatics)
- River Don't Runnn - (featuring Murphy Lee/Stephen Marley)
- Tilt Ya Head Back - (featuring Christina Aguilera)
- Grand Hang Out - (featuring Fat Joe/Young Tru/Remy)
- Getcha Getcha - (featuring St. Lunatics)
- Another One
- Spida Man
- Playa - (featuring Mobb Deep/Missy Elliott)
- Down In Da Water - (featuring Ali/Gube Thug)
- Boy - (featuring Lil' Flip/Big Gipp)