Since his debut in 2000 St. Louis rapper Nelly has always been in his own lane. He made "sing-songy" hooks popular way before 50 Cent, Kanye West, and even Lil Wayne. With the release of his fifth album 'Brass Knuckles' Nelly's hefty guest list includes the likes of Pharrell, Snoop Dogg and LL Cool J.

'Party People' featuring Fergie is high energy track with fitting voice distortions and formulaic lyrics. Both Fergie and Nelly battle one another infusing their signature sound for a perfect blend. While adding Fergie to any track automatically raises the "pop bar" a few notches Chuck D's appearance on 'Self Esteem' is a surprise departure from the album's flow. The hip-hop legend assists Nelly as he tries his hand at political commentary swerving through his lyrics effortlessly.

Dance joints 'Body on Me' featuring Ashanti and Akon and 'Step on My Js' featuring Jermaine Dupri are catchy loops that are sure to play on repeat. When Nelly stands alone on 'One and Only' he starts off wobbly but grows solid legs after finding his flow. While 'Brass Knuckles' does not come off as insincere, the title and cover image of Nelly donning his brick hard abs serves as only one "hard-core" aspect of an album offering the best of both worlds. Buy 'Brass Knuckles' on iTunes.