The 50 Best Debut Rap Singles

21. Nelly "Country Grammer (Hot Shit)" (2000)

Producer: Jason "Jay E" Epperson
Album: Country Grammer
Label: Universal

No one talks about it anymore, but when Nelly hit the scene in 2000 he exploded like few other rappers before or since. Yes, he was the definition of a "pop rapper" but, on the low, this song is kinda hard (the hook is about a drive-by and weed smoking). It packed the wonderful irony of being sung in the tune of a clapping game often sung by children ("Down Down Baby"). Nelly's flow was notoriously difficult to decipher, not just because of his actual country grammar but because of his delivery. That didn't stop the song from becoming a Top 10 hit on Billboard and helping Nelly's debut album of the same title go diamond—a feat accomplished by only a handful of rap albums. A decade after the fact, Nelly is totally irrelevant and people act like he never even existed, but he had a moment like few others. Down, down, baby indeed. - Insanul Ahmed

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