To commemorate the 20th anniversary of his classic project that is now certified diamond, Nelly is performing Country Grammar in its entirety live via YouTube. The livestream will also be broadcasted in a 360-degree format from a studio in Los Angeles.
"Anytime you get a chance to celebrate 20 years, you want to do something that you have never done before — so we are going to rock the Country Grammar album top to bottom,” Nelly said when discussing the event. Country Grammar has sold over 10 million copies since its release back in 2000, and is the crown jewel of the St. Louis rapper's diverse catalog.
During Nelly's Verzuz battle against Ludacris in May, fans were enthralled because of all of the nostalgia that both southern artists' songs have. When talking with Complex, Nelly talked about how he had been planning this performance since last year before COVID-19 forced everything indoors.
"We started coming into plans on it last year, around the 19th anniversary," Nelly said. "We wanted to do something really dope for the city of St. Louis because, musically, we don't have that many options. This was one of them. It was supposed to be the first year of my festival that we had been planning for a couple years. We partnered with Live Nation and a lot of local businesses around the St. Louis area to bring something special—not just to St. Louis, but to the midwest as a whole. It was called My Smoking Hayride Festival."
Nelly also talked about how influential he thought Country Grammar was in expanding hip-hop's reach as well.
"I think it allowed people from not just New York, L.A. or Atlanta—places that were already established—to believe that they could be a major player in this game if they worked their ass off, and if they came up with something that was appreciated by everybody," he said. "They could have success if they just tried and gave it their all. The thing about rap is, it always changes. Nobody holds it down forever. Evolution is inevitable. Things always must change. But I instilled that belief in a lot of people that aren't from those major contributing cities: If you come up with something you can really sink your teeth into and relate to with other people, you could be at the top of the game. That's all I ever wanted to do, was just be heard, man."
You can watch Nelly perform his platinum-selling album Country Grammar up top.