Nelly, real name Cornell Haynes Jr., was the first successful rapper to emerge from St. Louis. And he was very successful. His debut album, Country Grammar, sold over 10 million copies in America after it was released in 2000. "Ride Wit Me" and the title track were the big hits.
He was born in Austin, Texas, moved to Spain at age three, and then to St. Louis where he was raised. Nelly's parents divorced when he was 7, and he bounced around, living with different relatives and attending various schools. By the time he was a senior in high school, he was living on his own.
He lied about his age, claiming to be 21 when he released Country Grammar in 2000. He was actually four years older, outed in 2003 when he made the Teen People Hottest Stars Under 25 list at age 28.
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