Pop & Circumstance: Nelly and Kelly back in businessBy Allison Berger | March 9th, 2011 | 2 comments
Don’t call it a comeback, call it deja vu (’cause no matter what I do, all I think about is you.)
Welcome back to Nellyville, USA! The 36-year-old rapper made it big after signing with Universal Records in 1999, but we haven’t seen too much of him since his 2000 singles “Country Grammar,” “Ride Wit Me,” and 2002′s “Hot in Herre.” Though “Hot in Herre” has provided a glorious soundtrack for numerous MTV reality shows and regrettable club hookups, few of Nelly’s other releases made a splash in the hip hop world — until now.
More and more, the popstars of yesteryear are using the new decade as an opportunity to appeal to a fresh set of youngins. “Just a Dream” debuted in August of last year and became Nelly’s highest-charting song since 2005. The third single from “5.0″ will be “Gone,” the supposed sequel to 2002′s number one hit “Dilemma.” Both songs feature Kelly Rowland.
No, not Kelly Rowan from “The O.C.,” Kelly Rowland of Destiny’s Child! The 30-year-old was one of the founding members of DC back in the ’90s and has been trying really, really hard to make it on her own ever since the group’s on-again, off-again break up in 2001. Her first solo album, “Simply Deep,” failed to produce a memorable single. Her second album, 2007′s “Ms. Kelly,” didn’t go anywhere, either. In fact, you might best recognize Kelly these days from her gig as the host of Bravo’s reality series “The Fashion Show.” Dilemma, indeed.
That original Gramming-winning duet was a slow jam/hip-hop hit hybrid that got stuck in your head for days. The video features enough hug-dancing to make you uncomfortable and a lace-up “going out” top that screams “Early 2000s!” in a way that’ll make you want to forget you ever wore such things. Whomever thought the ’80s was a weird time for fashion clearly wasn’t a teen in 2001.
It’s 2011, and Kelly and Nelly are back together, in the “Let’s make a number one single!” kind of way. Nelly starts off the track with a sweet little rap about the girl he used to know: “I seen her yesterday and she still fly/She still right, still tight, still fine/Yep I still wanna make her mine.” For the video, Nelly and Kelly (Knelly?) decided to nix the long hugs in the middle of the street for a relocation to the beach, complete with poi spinners on the sandbar. Sexy. At 2:25, there’s a brief shower scene that shows a rando girl rinsing her hair. We don’t know who she is, and after 2:29, we never see her again. The video ends with a set of rapidly disappearing beach bungalows. Gone, gone gone.
So what do you think? Can Nelly ride with the new decade? And hey, wait a minute — is Nelly’s gimmicky band-aid “gone” for good?
Allison Berger is a Philadelphia-based writer and a Pop music columnist for Reverb. Check out more of her writing here.