Even though his big hits seem to be behind us, Nelly is always going to hold a special place for anyone who's over 20. The man was everywhere and pushing a massive amount of units in the early 2000s. And that's quite the cause for celebration. Nelly turns 41 years old today (Nov. 2).

The turn of the millennium began the age of Nelly. February brought "Country Grammar (Hot S---)," a nursery rhyme flipped into a mainstream hit. This was Nelly's first song and with it he became a sensation.

Nelly didn't miss much in the years after. His debut album, Country Grammar, which also benefitted from hits "E.I." and "Ride wit Me," sold 8.4 million copies, making it one of the decade's biggest albums and putting St. Louis back on the map. There was a slight drop-off with his sophomore album, Nellyville, but no rapper is going to eclipse 6.5 million copies sold for a while.

Massive hits like "Hot in Herre" (easily 2002's song of the summer), "Shake Ya Tailfeather" with P. Diddy and "Grillz" with Paul Wall continued his stardom and kept his name alive headed into the mid-aughts. However, the man who ruled the Billboard charts eventually became a punchline, a symbol of a past era. Nelly had another big hit with 2010's "Just a Dream," but unfortunately his albums didn't fly off the shelves anymore.

But give him credit: In an era where music reached its commercial peak, Nelly thrived.

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