A chat with Nelly at Super Bowl XLIX for Bud Light’s #HouseOfWhatever


We spoke to Nelly at Bud Light’s House of Whatever in Phoenix, Arizona about his career, the (endless) rise of Taylor Swift, and how he does his best work on the toilet, while some light jazz played in the background.

Here are a few highlights.

On “Country Grammar” and the line, “Get a room in Trump Tower just to hit for three hours/kick the bitch up out the room ’cause she used the word ‘Ours'”:

“It came from real life. It was cool. But you’re talking about lines that were said in 2002. I was a young, thriving Nelly. Hopefully, when you get in this game, you build your own type of fan base and actually have fans that appreciate what you do and grow with you. It’s funny, because it’s a double-edged sword. You hear so many people say, ‘I wish you would do another album like Country Grammar.’ And I say, ‘You were in school when Country Grammar came out, right. You can’t get that feeling back. The reason Country Grammar meant something to you is because you were in school at that time. It was the buddies that were around you, the moment for you. It was your theme music to what you were going through in that life.’ You can’t make that. You don’t think Michael would love to make another Thriller? You think he wasn’t tryin‘? You can’t, because it was that moment. It was music that was unheard at that time. And you can never get all of those elements back again.”

On making new music:

“I don’t chase [past success]; I just make music. Music is creativity, it’s a career. You up, you down, you up, you down… You can’t have a career without an up and down. Nobody is consistently up. Well, probably Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift is probably the only one I see that is like, ‘Yo, she’s just gonna keep going (up), huh? Just gonna keep fuckin’ goin’.”

On when he’s the most creative:

“Songs pop up at the weirdest moments. You can be in a hotel, sittin’ in a room, being in a club, bein’ on the shitter. That’s my office. I can think, I’ve got the phone on the wall, set the laptop up on the dirty clothes hamper; I feel my freest.”

On what motivates him:

“I don’t do that anymore. When people are like, ‘Yo, what do you want to do?’ It’s not about that no more for me. Succeeding is not what drives you. I think what drives you is knowing where you don’t want to be – I know where I don’t want to be. That’s the motivation to keep going. Because as long as I keep going, I’m not gonna be there. Because to say what I want to do, I’ve accomplished so much and I’m steady going, I just don’t know, I just keep it movin’. But I know one thing that never changes; It’s where you don’t wanna be.”

On what makes Nelly, “Nelly”:

“It was everything. When you get counted out so many times, you look for a sense of, ‘Where am I going to channel and put this energy that I have to succeed?’ Some kids take it and take it the wrong way. Some kids work hard, they study, they go to school, they graduate and become something. Some kids do it through sports. But again, being a product of who you are, it can be a fuel. Sometimes, too much fuel can blow you up. But majority of that time, if you take that fuel and use it right, you can go to the moon.”

“You’re not content. If you’re content, you’ve already started the giving up process. This is a game of creativity, being competitive, it’s a ‘dog eat’ and I love it.”


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Friday Video – Beck, “E-Pro,” with yet another bonus Beastie Boys video

Click here to listen to Beck’s Guero on Spotify

Is it just us, or has the bloom fallen off the Beck rose in the last couple of years? This is not to say that he’s running out of gas, but rather that there has been a, um, sea change (see what we did there?) on the musical landscape, and Beck is no longer hanging with Jack Nicholson in the VIP area, though to be fair Jack’s VIP area only has room for one person, and that person is Jack Nicholson. Still, you get our point – modern rock is leaving the giants of the ’00s behind. It’s sad when it happens, but it always happens.

So let’s enjoy a little bit of aughts nostalgia with “E-Pro,” the slammin’ lead single from Beck’s great 2005 Guero album. Even better is the trippy video, which features Beck taking one wild animated trip, which is assembled to resemble the most terrifying tracking shot ever made.

So what, so what, so what’s the Beastie Boys connection here, you ask? Listen to that rhythm track in “E-Pro.” Does it sound familiar? If so, it’s because you know your Beastie Boys, as Beck used a sped-up sample of their 1992 song “So What’cha Want” as the basis for his song. We saw a couple of mash-ups of the two tracks on YouTube, but frankly they were not terribly good, so we’re going with the original here. It still hasn’t sunk in that MCA is dead. Sigh.

Happy Friday, everyone. Be quirky this weekend. Beck would approve.


Friday Video – The Housemartins, “Happy Hour”

Click here to listen to the Housemartins’ London 0 Hull 4 on Spotify

Frankly, we’re surprised we didn’t feature this song in this column earlier. It’s upbeat, it’s catchy, and it’s about having a drink or three with your mates. What’s not to love? Oh, right, that whole misogynist subtext. (Sample lyric: “And then we ask all the questions, and you take all your clothes off, and go back to the kitchen sink.”) Yeah, sorry about that.

But hey, look, Norman “Fatboy Slim” Cook is on the right in the white cardigan sweater! That’s right, Fatboy Slim was the Housemartins’ bass player, and a damn good bass player at that. Funny that he decided to scrap instruments for turntables. Not that we’re complaining, because it led to this giagantic slice of awesomeness.

Sigh. we’re still stinging from the death of MCA last Friday. *pours out 40*

We saw Fatboy Slim open up for the Chemical Brothers in 1999. Cook threw out a ridiculous hodgepodge of tunes, from Prince to the Kinks, and it all worked remarkably well. When he played his own remix of the Beastie Boys’ “Body Movin’,” though, he blew the roof off the joint, and even the Chemicals had a hard time topping it. It was one of those ‘right place, right time’ moments. And we were there, man.

Happy Friday, everyone. May your weekend be one of those ‘right place, right time’ moments.


Friday Video – Beastie Boys three-pack

We wanted to use their new single “Make Some Noise” in this slot, but the only version of the song on YouTube is sped up in order to avoid prosecution by the Web Sheriff, and it just sounds wonky. So we’re going with these instead. First up: “Body Movin,” which seems like a spoof of ’60s spy movies but then Mike D is wearing a Beethoven wig. The remix of the song here is arguably the best thing Fatboy Slim has ever done.

Next, we have “Ch-Ch-Check It Out,” performed live on “Late Night with David Letterman.” Shot with a fish-eye lens on the streets of New York City, the band performs the track while walking the streets and into the back door of Letterman’s studio and hits the stage in the second chorus. Sweeeeet.

And how about this for last-minute timing: the official video for “Make Some Noise” just dropped. Man, Elijah Wood does an uncanny Ad Rock.