M.O. – Nelly album review

It’s been a few years in the making but Nelly has finally released his latest album, M.O. Hard to believe, but it’s already been 13 years since the critically acclaimed debut by the rapper, Country Grammar, was released. Here he is all these years removed from the release, with years of success under his belt, but not much has changed for the emcee. He’s still got the Midwest slang, still putting his vocals to the test on his hooks, and he’s still repping St. Louis, Missouri, as evidenced by his latest album’s title.

While Nelly shows no signs that he’s forgotten how to make a quality song or that he can infuse different genre’s and still make it Hip-Hop at it’s core. I think his need to please a new generation of fans hurt him on this project. While his last album, couple of albums, Brass Knuckles and 5.0 were also heavy on the features, they had a flow and fit that that worked well on those albums. M.O. comes off more as a who’s who in music list rather than a Nelly album. Thus the album never finds its voice. It sounds all too close to his recent mixtapes, O.E.MO, which stood for “On Everything MO,” and Scorpio Season, both of which were only moderately entertaining.

M.O. features include 2 Chainz, Future, Wiz Khalifa, Fabolous, Daley, Nelly Furtado, Trey Songz, Nicki Minaj, Pharrell, and inexplicably T.I. is featured on two tracks, on one of which where he has multiple verses. Of the 12 tracks, there are only 2 solo Nelly tracks. On the deluxe version there are 3 more, but by then there’s no regaining the lost momentum. Also disappointing is the lack of an appearance from the St. Lunatics crew, which is still welcome in my book all these years later because they have a chemistry that works on most of their records together.

While I’d be open to a collaboration album from T.I. and Nelly, I’d prefer to have more Nelly and less of everyone else on the Nelly albums. Let’s not forget that this man has about 6 different styles/sounds in him anyway, so there’s already a bunch of things he brings to an album as is. At this point its not like he has anything to lose. He’s a veteran with an aged fan base. If people have been along for the ride for 13 years, why spend so much time trying to convince new fans by garnering appearances by their favorite artist of the month? Especially if that’s not leading to featured appearances on those artists’ projects?  (He’s only been featured on 4 songs this year by my count.)  Plus, “Hey Porsche” is his biggest single thus far, which follows a same vein as 2010’s “Just A Dream,” which saw immense success.  Both songs, have no feature!

Then again, maybe Nelly’s just having fun after 13 years? Well in that case, carry on. Just not at the expense of the listeners.

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Kevin Benoit
Kevin Benoit graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2007 with a Bachelors of Science in Legal Studies. Empowering the urban community has been a goal for Kevin Benoit for the past 8 years. As a freshman in college, in May of 2004, Benoit created Parlé Magazine, an urban entertainment magazine that focused on literacy through entertainment. The publication has since provided a stepping-stone for many individuals throughout the country, from teens to adults and continues to provide inspiration for inspiring entrepreneurs, writers, photographers and graphic designers. Read more articles by Kevin.