Cornell Iral Haynes, Jr. (born November 2, 1974), better known by his stage name Nelly, is an American hip hop recording artist, actor, CEO, and entrepreneur. He has performed with the rap group St. Lunatics since 1993 and signed to Universal Records in 1999. Under Universal, Nelly made his solo debut in 2000 with Country Grammar, the title track of which was a top ten hit.
With his following albums, Nellyville (2002) and the same-day dual release Sweat and Suit (2004) and compilation Sweatsuit (2006), Nelly continued to generate many chart-topping hits. The rapper's fifth studio album, Brass Knuckles, was released on September 16, 2008 after several delays.
He won Grammy Awards in 2003 and 2004 and had a supporting role in the 2005 remake film The Longest Yard with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. He has two clothing lines, Vokal and Apple Bottoms. He has been referred to by Peter Shapiro as "one of the biggest stars of the new millennium", and the RIAA ranks Nelly as one of the best-selling male artists in American music history, with 21 million albums sold in the United States. On December 11th, 2009 Nelly was ranked as the 3rd Top Overall Artist of the 2000-2009 decade by Billboard Magazine.