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Cornell Iral Haynes Jr. (born November 2, 1974), better known by his stage name Nelly, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter and entrepreneur. He embarked on his music career with Midwest hip hop group St. Lunatics in 1993 and signed to Universal Records in 1999. Under Universal, Nelly began his solo career in the year 2000, with his debut album Country Grammar, of which the featured title track and the single “Ride wit Me” were top ten hits.
Nelly won Grammy Awards in 2003 and 2004 and had a supporting role in the 2005 remake film The Longest Yard with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. He has two clothing lines, Vokal and Apple Bottoms. He has been referred to by Peter Shapiro as “one of the biggest stars of the new millennium”, and the RIAA ranks Nelly as the fourth best-selling rap artist in American music history, with 21 million albums sold in the United States. On December 11, 2009, Billboard ranked Nelly the number three Top Artist of the Decade (2000s).