by Nelly

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Nelly's decision to release his Sweatsuit project as two respective albums, Sweat and Suit -- the former clubby and insincere, the latter refined and mannered -- is somewhat of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it's nice to pick whichever side of Nelly's persona you prefer, whether in general or at any particular moment; on the other hand, the separate-album concept makes for two very one-dimensional albums that begin to sound formulaic by their respective conclusions. The thing is, Nelly has plenty of great songs here on these two albums. Quality certainly isn't an issue -- he works with a who's who of pop-rap circa 2004, from the Neptunes to Christina Aguilera to Snoop Dogg to Missy Elliott, and ends up with a wealth of certified and could-be hits. Yet by sorting them into two different categories and then lumping them together onto two separate CDs, the diversity at hand is nullified. Granted, this two-styles, two-discs approach worked well for OutKast on Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (and less well, but well nonetheless, for R. Kelly on Happy People/U Saved Me), but it doesn't work so well for Nelly. His Sweatsuit recordings are diverse, for sure, but OutKast he isn't, nor is he the Pied Piper. Rather, Nelly is essentially a pop star who happens to rap, and as such, he specializes in calculated pop formulas -- namely clubby, cocky party songs (previously "Hot in Herre," presently "Flap Your Wings") and sweet, sultry love songs (previously "Dilemma," presently "My Place"). And by sorting those two formulas into respective albums, the calculation becomes overt and comes across as formulaic to discerning listeners. The key, then, is to not be a discerning listener: it's best to just let these songs play and take them for what they are -- well-done popcraft. The Suit disc is by far the more interesting disc of the two. There are only 11 songs here, but thankfully they're relatively diverse compared to those of Sweat. All except three of them are collabos, and often the collaborators steal the show, reducing Nelly to guest status on his own album. "Play It Off," a tiptop-shelf Neptunes joint boasting a great Pharrell vocal contribution, kicks off the album marvelously, and the next two tracks -- "Pretty Toes" and "My Place" -- are top draws also. The former is a fun Jazze Pha song toasting fly girls, and the latter is a "Dilemma" retread -- where that song had aped Patti LaBelle's "Love, Need and Want You" for its hook (to much success), this one apes yet another Philly soul classic, Teddy Pendergrass' bedroom ballad "Come Go With Me" (again, to much success). Another highlight is "She Don't Know My Name," a Speakerboxxx-like Big Boi (of OutKast) production where Ron Isley and Snoop Dogg steal the show, leaving Nelly only a 45-second verse for himself. Most of the other songs have their virtues: for instance, "N Dey Say" appropriates Spandau Ballet's timeless 1983 Top Ten hit "True"; "Woodgrain and Leather Wit a Hole" is a laid-back ode to smoking and driving (hydro smoking, that is); "It's My Life" marks the return of (...drum roll, please) Mase; and "Over and Over" includes an overdubbed hook by country star Tim McGraw that works much better than it should. All of this amounts to a brief album with absolutely no filler. Granted, Nelly's rapping here is more restrained and insubstantial than ever, but when you have a cast of collaborators like this, the actual rapping is beside the point -- these are fun songs, plain and simple, and wonderfully catchy to boot. This makes for a great album. Had Nelly combined the 49-minute Suit with the half-dozen highlights from Sweat, however, he'd have a really great album. (Doing just that on your PC or Mac is highly recommended, by the way, and quite fun.) [Universal also released a clean version that censors the occasional moments of profanity.]

Product Details

Release Date: 09/14/2004
Label: Umvd Labels
UPC: 0602498635803
catalogNumber: 000332002

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Nelly   Primary Artist,Rap
Tim McGraw   Vocals
Snoop Dogg   Rap
Ronald Isley   Vocals
Debra Killings   Bass
Shorty B.   Bass,Guitar
Anthony Hamilton   Vocals
Jazze Pha   Rap
Mase   Rap
Pharrell Williams   Vocals
Jaheim   Vocals
T.I.   Rap
Rajinder Kala   Conga
Kim Moore Johnson   Background Vocals
Matt Brauss   Bass
Bryan Loss   Drums
Richard "Rip" Gager   Guitar
James D. "Sted Fast" II Hargrove   Guitar
Avery Storm   Rap
Jayson Bridges   Percussion,Drums,Keyboards

Technical Credits

Tim McGraw   Composer
Phalon Alexander   Composer
Jermaine Dupri   Composer,Producer
Brian Frye   Engineer
Kenny Gamble   Composer
Ronald Isley   Composer
LROC   Producer
Carl Nappa   Engineer
James Phillips   Composer
Soulshock   Composer,Producer
Kevin Law   Engineer
Anthony Hamilton   Composer
Jazze Pha   Audio Production
Sandy Brummels   Art Direction
Mase   Composer
Pharrell Williams   Composer
André Benjamin   Composer
Calvin Broadus   Composer
Antwan Patton   Composer
Neptunes   Audio Production
E. Jordan   Composer
Chad Hugo   Composer
Big Boi   Producer
Patrick "Sleepy" Brown   Composer
D. Moore   Composer
Serge Tsai   Engineer
Earl Gaynor   Composer,Producer
Nelly   Composer,Executive Producer
Rico Wade   Composer
Chris Carmouche   Engineer
Jason Bridges   Composer
Joe Spix   Art Direction
Beat Bullies   Producer
Brandon "B Don" Matthews   Engineer
Raymond "Yoda" Murray   Composer
Robert Gerongco   Composer,Producer
Sam Gerongco   Producer
James D. "Sted Fast" II Hargrove   Composer,Producer
Kuya Brothers   Producer
Jayson Bridges   Composer,Producer,Audio Production

Customer Reviews

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Suit 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well this idea of his of two cds for different sides to his style is much appreciated by me. I saw underneath it all Nelly was gifted but much of the lyrics and plots in many of the songs left me uncomfortable. I love this SUIT CD!!! My favorites are #3,6,8,9,10&11. Great job Nelly. much love and blessings to you--
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've only heard one artist whose cd was full of hits and a double disc: R. Kelly ("R.", not this "U Saved Me/Happy People" deal). I took a chance with Nelly because I've always liked him as an artist. Plus, I figured if someone was bold enough to put out two separate cds at the same time (when artists are having all kinds of problems selling ONE), then it must be good. Wrong! In the pretty toes song, I realized quickly that Nelly hasn't mastered the art of riding the beat. T.I. has mastered this craft and completely overpowered everybody on the song and that wasn't a surprise because I already knew how talented and powerful T.I.'s rhymes were. On top of that, T.I. never says words for the sake of rhyming while Nelly apparently decided to do that throughout the entire cd (including "Sweat"). Another song where the guest overpowered the host is the song with Anthony Hamilton. I don't remember anything about the song but his beautiful voice. I did like one song a lot though, and it was a song with no guest appearances: Die For You. His little girl has a smart mouth, but she's funny and honest. That was a heartfelt song with lyrics that made me pay attention. Finally. I'd watch and tape a video for all of these songs I don't like just to look at something I do like (his face & body). Not good. The irony is that even though I only liked one song with Nelly on it and that was the one without all the guest appearances, I'd still run out and buy his next cd. The charisma, the style, HIS LOOKS, and his honesty will always give him the upperhand.
Guest More than 1 year ago
"Suit" is one of the best since Brandy's "Afrodisiac" to be played from start to finish. This CD seems to be a cross-over to R&B, Hip-Hop, Pop, and Gospel feelings of passion. All of the songs are outstanding to play.
Guest More than 1 year ago
SweatSuit is an awesome idea from the great music minds of Nelly & the St. Lunatics! Being a rap fan and a closet country music lover, to say I am exctied about the Tim McGraw duo is an understatement. DERRTY ENT!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago