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Nelly Makes a Remarkable Comeback on ‘5.0’

Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

With his comeback single ‘Just a Dream’ rocking the charts, Nelly graced New York City’s Griffin last night to preview his sixth album ‘5.0.’ With patrons cupping Hennessy cocktails, the man of the hour strolled into the posh night club with Ashanti on his arm, giving daps to those in attendance before grabbing a seat next to Universal Motown executive Sylvia Rhone who introduced the St. Louis rapper.

“Pretty wonderful artist we have here,” noted Rhone, who praised Nelly for selling 30 million records. “Ten years of fine contribution to the music culture, this man right here.”

Nelly, clad in a flannel button-down, jeans and sunglasses, hopped on the mic to introduce his upcoming album. “I feel honored and privileged to be in the music business, period,” he said, adding, “I feel honored to be presenting new music after 10 years.”

Before cuing up the LP, the singer debuted his Marc Klasfeld-directed music video for the Dr. Luke-produced ‘Move That Body‘ featuring T-Pain and Akon, looking to the graphic film ‘Fight Club’ for inspiration. In the clip, Nelly enters an underground club where girls zip up thigh-high boots, dancing off against one another as onlookers including T.I. and Jermaine Dupri hedge bets on the sidelines.

“I can hear some of the activist groups right now!” joked Nelly after the clip played through.

Nelly continued by describing how ‘5.0’ was inspired by the classic Mustang model, recounting a story where he managed to get the whip back on the streets after talking with an executive from the company. He explained that he felt inspired to work harder on the “melodic-driven” album, pushing himself to the limits. “I tend to think if s— comes easy to me, it’s wrong. So I pushed myself harder. I took a classic Nelly approach.”

The album showed for it. Boasting his signature sound, ‘5.0’ kicks off with the pattering ‘I Am Number One’ featuring Birdman and DJ Khaled. The pop-geared ‘Long Gone” featuring Chris Brown and Plies was next, while T.I. manned both the production boards and supplied a guest verse for ‘She’s So Fly.’

But the most surprising cut on the album was ‘Life’ featuring St. Lunatics‘ Ali and conscious emcee Talib Kweli, who dropped some knowledge on the acoustic guitar-powered instrumental. “I ain’t just tryin’ to survive, I’m just trying to live,” raps the Brooklyn native on his verse.

Other notables on the album include ‘1,000 Stacks’ featuring Diddy and a posthumous Notorious B.I.G., as well as a reunion between Nelly and Kelly Rowland on the Jim Jonsin-produced ‘Gone.’ ‘5.0’ is a remarkable return to form for Nelly — one that listeners can anticipate leading up to the LP’s Nov. 15 release.

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