ACL Live Review: Nelly

Eternal schoolyard rhymes from ageless Austin MC

Cornell Iral Haynes, Jr. is 43 years old, an entrepreneur, investor, and father, but as Nelly, he never grew up.

Photo by Gary Miller

Because the Austin-born Missouri rapper hasn’t put out a hit for the last five years, it was surprising to see middle school-age girls bouncing their boxer braids eagerly up front. Perhaps that’s a marker of him aging out of some sort of market – that festival tweens know who he is. Regardless, other than some obvious work at the gym, he looks exactly the same as his Country Grammar days, celebrating UT’s football victory in a Longhorns jersey he stripped off at the end of his set.

After opening with the ubiquitous “Country Grammar,” “E. I.,” a random trap remix, and “Ride Wit Me,” 2013’s “Cruise” remix with Flo Rida brought the massive HomeAway stage audience back to this decade. In fact, the first half hour mostly moved through filler beats and remixes, the rapper’s DJ performing more than him. The crowd got restless before being buoyed by throwback “Rubber Band” and the classic wannabe stripper anthem “Hot in Herre.”

Tenth track in, “Dilemma” capitalized on becoming a now popular meme pointing out that Kelly Rowland is “texting” him on a spreadsheet in the music video. “Just a Dream” closed out the set as his last significant hit.

Nelly hasn’t outgrown his party boy brand despite reality show efforts as a family man and experimental album collaborations. It’s a safe bet, then, that his platinum-selling, eternally schoolyard rhymes will blast at house parties for generations to come.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Nelly
Whoa Nelly: Sierra Blanca Strikes Again
Whoa Nelly: Sierra Blanca Strikes Again
Rapper briefly detained at checkpoint

Shelley Hiam, Oct. 11, 2012

By the Time I Get to Phoenix
By the Time I Get to Phoenix
SXSW Grace Note: Glen Campbell at the Austin Rodeo.

Raoul Hernandez, April 4, 2012

More by Clara Wang
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Girl Ultra, Nori with strings, Maxo Kream, Mudhoney, Little Mazarn, and more recommended shows

May 13, 2022

What We're Listening to Right Now
What We're Listening to Right Now
Deezie Brown, El Combo Oscuro, Ifé Neuro, Don Leady, Lizzy Lehman, and more locals worth a listen

May 13, 2022

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Nelly, ACL Fest 2018, ACL Music Fest 2018, Cornell Iral Haynes, Jr., Flo Rida, Kelly Rowland

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle