Popular country albums tend to sell well. Nelly — whose last album, M.O., pushed a miserable number of units — probably knows this.
So Nelly’s decision to make a country album at least makes sense from a business perspective. His manager J. Erving confirmed the crossover decision to Billboard.
“He’s a free agent on the label side now, and is working on a country-based “Heartland” EP, which should be really interesting,” Erving said. “He may be one of the first hip-hop artists to jump into that space in an authentic way with Florida Georgia Line and Tim McGraw, so we think he has an opportunity to grow that base even more.”
Erving isn’t entirely wrong, though. “Over and Over,” his 2004 collaboration with Tim McGraw, reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. His most recent country collaboration, the “Cruise” remix with Florida Georgia Line, reached No. 4.
But here’s the thing: Those songs didn’t succeed strictly off of Nelly’s star power. McGraw and the Florida Georgia Line are both very popular artists; Nelly is arguably an add-on. A country EP may be a bit optimistic, but there can’t be that much to lose after M.O. and the recent arrest.
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