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Apple Bottoms

Rap artist Nelly (born Cornell Haynes, Jr.) grew up in St. Louis and experienced first-hand the dangers and temptations of life on the street. His escape came when he moved as a teenager with his mother to nearby suburban University City. There, he discovered lures of a more constructive kind - playing baseball, storytelling and writing rhymes.

With some high school friends, Nelly formed a band, the St. Lunatics, who scored a regional hit in 1996 with the self-produced single, "Gimmie What You Got." Frustrated in attempts to land a record deal as a group, they collectively decided that Nelly would have a better chance as a single, banking on his winning stage presence and superior rhyming skills. The gamble paid off - soon thereafter, Nelly caught the attention of Universal, who released his debut album, Country Grammar, in 2000.