Seeing the name Nelly affiliated with country music might be shocking to some, but the rapper has long been a fan of the genre. While longtime fans of the St. Louis rapper probably recall his country influence as far back as his debut studio album Country Grammar, he's taking it one step farther with his upcoming album Heartland, which includes a much heavier country music influence as well as collaborations with current country singers. He's also going to be the first hip-hop artist to ever headline CMT Crossroads on an upcoming episode -- with some help from his country pals, of course.
"I'm excited to celebrate my music with my friends and fellow artists on Crossroads," Nelly said in a statement. "When people talk about me crossing lines and genres, I think about it more that music brings folks together."
Heartland is set for release on Aug. 27 though Nelly has already released new songs for the album which will be his first new music in 8 years. "Lil Bit," his collaboration with Florida Georgia Line was released towards the end of 2020, with a seriously fun music video that premiered this summer. He also recently released "High Horse" with rising country stars Blanco Brown and BRELAND. FGL, Blanco Brown and BRELAND will all be joining Nelly on CMT Crossroads: Nelly & Friends on September 1 in addition to Kane Brown with whom the rapper collaborated on "Cool Again" in 2020.
But this is definitely not Nelly's first brush with Nashville. He recorded "Over and Over" with Grammy winner Tim McGraw back in 2004 and in 2013 released the popular remix of "Cruise" with Florida Georgia Line. He recently also teamed up with Jimmie Allen for "Good Times Roll" on Allen's EP Bettie James. We can't wait for the full Heartland album to be released to see just how country Nelly can really get.