Back in the early aughts, Nelly was one of the most popular rappers on the music scene. His debut solo album, Country Grammar, peaked at number one on the US Billboard 200, and his 2002 hit “Hot in Herre” topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for seven consecutive weeks. He also hit number one with the song “Dilemma” (featuring Destiny Child’s Kelly Rowland) and went on to win three Grammy Awards, four American Music Awards, and nine Billboard Music Awards. But it’s been a while since the performer has had a hit single. So where is Nelly today? Here’s what he’s been up to.
Nelly Never Stopped Making Music
While his songs may no longer be in constant rotation, Nelly has continued to make innovative music over the years. He’s released a total of eight albums, including 2021’s Heartland, which reached number 45 on the US Billboard 200. Inspired by the rapper’s love of country music, the album showcased Nelly’s versatility when it comes to performing.
“One thing I credit my fans for, and that I’m very thankful for, is being able to be musically free,” Nelly said in a 2021 interview with Billboard. “I don’t have to be categorized, you know what I mean? I am hip-hop, I love rap, that’s just who I am. But as far as my music, I get a chance to express myself in whatever lane that is possible, because we all know that nothing is just one-dimensional nowadays. We were fortunate enough that a lot of brothers before me inspired me by being melodic, and I was able to expand it and bring melodic [hip-hop] all across various charts.”
Recent TV Appearances
Nelly has also been able to parlay his success onto the small screen over the last decade. In 2014, he starred in his own reality show, Nellyville, which aired for two seasons on BET. The “Dilemma” rapper was also a main cast member of the BET show Real Husbands of Hollywood from 2013 until 2016. And in 2020, he appeared on the 29th season of Dancing With the Stars, coming in third behind celebrities Kaitlyn Bristowe from The Bachelorette and Nev Schulman from Catfish.
While Nelly says he loves being on reality TV shows, there is one type of show he would never participate in. “I don’t want to sing, I do that for a living,” the rapper said in a 2020 interview with Billboard. “I’d totally be upset if I lost to a Housewife rapping or singing. Even though I love those shows—I love The Masked Singer, I love to watch it—but I don’t think it’s for me because I think I would be upset if I lost to somebody who’s not a professional musician, so to speak.”
Recent Financial And Legal Troubles
In 2015, Nelly was arrested for drug possession when his tour bus was pulled over during a routine traffic stop. While the rapper was initially charged with felony possession, he ended up pleading guilty to two misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and was sentenced to a year of probation.
The following year, the “Ride wit Me” rapper was in the news again after it was reported that he owed the IRS $2.4 million in back taxes. While the outcome of the incident was not reported, it’s assumed the bestselling artist was able to work out a payment deal with the feds.
In 2017, Nelly found himself in hot water once again. He was arrested on rape charges after a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her while hanging out on his tour bus. The rapper denied the accusation and released a statement declaring his innocence.
“Let me say that I am beyond shocked that I have been targeted with this false allegation,” he tweeted. “I am completely innocent. I am confident that once the facts are looked at, it will be very clear that I am the victim of a false allegation.”
The charges were eventually dropped after the accuser would not participate in the investigation due to safety concerns.
Where Is He Now?
In 2021, Nelly sold his 10,000-square-foot, Tuscan-style mansion in St. Louis, Missouri, after the property’s remodel had been abandoned for a number of years. According to Realtor.com, “The Fix” rapper was forced to list the home at a price well below its 2002 market value of $2.5 million. The Riverfront Times reports that the Kingdom of God Global Church, an organization that some allege is a cult, purchased the property in 2022.
Realtor.com reports that Nelly currently lives in Calabasas, California. The rapper has two grown biological children—Chanelle, born in 1994, and Cornell, born in 1999. He also raised his late sister’s two children, Sydney, and Lil Shawn. The family of four was the focus of the reality show Nellyville back in 2014, where it was clear Nelly loved being a dad.
“My kids are awesome and just having them there is the blessing for me,” the rapper told Page Six in 2017. “Just being with your kids, I think that’s a great gift for fathers.”