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Wednesday, April 30, 2003
Nelly

Page 2 Staff

OK, so we already know a lot about Nelly. He's the guy who told us "it's gettin' hot in herre," taught us some "Country Grammar", and shared the "Dilemma" he had with Kelly Rowland. But there's more to Nelly than the hip-hop life.

What does he want after the music stops? What really tires him out? And how the heck do you get to Nellyville? Page 2's Mike Philbrick caught up with St. Louis' finest as he kicked back with a game of EA's NBA Street Vol. 2 -- featuring, among others, Nelly himself.

Nelly
The Cards could do a lot worse than Nelly.
1. What would you rather have -- a Grammy or a championship ring?

Oh, a championship ring. Definitely. Preferably a Word Series ring with the Cardinals.

You have your roots in St. Louis. Tell me. What is going to be a bigger problem in St. Louis -- Kurt Warner's thumb or Kurt Warner's wife?

Hopefully, his wife is the bigger problem. If it's his thumb, we're in trouble. If it's his wife, then he's in trouble. You gotta think about the team, man.

What do you think about Mrs. Warner speaking out on the radio?

She's defending her husband. She's been around football all her life, so I think she's probably got a good point of view. I mean, we've all blamed Mike Martz for something. I wouldn't really blame her. I think she's just sticking by her husband, doing what any wife would do.

2. Who is a better baller -- Nelly or Cyber Nelly?

Cyber Nelly. He's treacherous. You don't want to see him right now.

What's the real Nelly highlight on the athletic field.

I won an MVP trophy with the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Association. I didn't even start. I was a sub on this team. This was like an All-Star game where we had athletes from different teams, different mixtures. We had like the only black team in the league, basically. We had four players go to the All-Star game. We were losing 5-1 in the seventh inning and the coach subbed us in, and we managed to come back and win. I wound up getting the MVP for that, so I was real happy.

Nelly
You don't want to ball with Cyber Nelly.
You almost played professional baseball. Ever think about giving it another shot?

I went to a lot of different camps and stuff like that. Every team brings a camp or two to your city every year. A lot of times they send letters out to people they want to monitor.

Ever think about giving it another shot?

You never know. Wouldn't be a bad idea.

What's left, what's ahead, what have you not done that you still want to do?

I think getting back to playing baseball. Michael Jordan did it. Garth Brooks did it. I'm nowhere near the age those guys were when they went back, so I figure I can try it.

I think Garth Brooks is still putting Ben Gay on.

I think he did all right. He lived a dream of his. There were obviously fans that wanted to see him do it because, hell, the stadiums were packed.

3. What exactly is "Pimp Juice?"

Nelly
The St. Lunatics have more pimp juice than most.
Pimp Juice is anything that attracts the opposite sex.

How can a guy like me get some?

Well, you got it. Whatever you're using to get ahead. Your journalism might be your pimp juice at this point.

What if I said "I'm sorry, I can't have lunch with you. I'm hangin' out with Nelly."

You know, that just might work.

4. Which of the other Nellys would you rather hang out with -- Nelly Furtado or Don Nelson of the Mavs ?

Oh, man. Furtado without a doubt. Much better figure. Way better.

5. Can you give me directions to Nellyville?

Do you have GPS? Because I'd have to program it for you. I can't just tell you. It's a secret or else everyone would want to go there. Once I program it in your navigation, it'll take you there.

Nelly Furtado
Don doesn't stand a chance against this Nelly.
OK, you did "Dilema" with Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child. But if Beyonce showed up, who would you pick?

I still like Kelly, but we're all friends. It's not picking one over the other one. I've known the girls for a long time. It's nothing like that. We've even been on tour. It wasn't a point of me picking one over the other. I just thought Kelly was best suited for this song.

6. If you could have one superpower -- the strength of 100 men, invisibility, or the ability to fly -- which would you choose and why?

Probably invisibility. I'm not too keen on flying. It's not my bag. Strength of 100 men? I'd probably just get mad and hurt somebody and end up in jail. I think invisibility would probably be the best thing. I could be like, 'You know what, let me just see what these folks are talking about over here.' Then you could sneak into Rams cheerleaders' locker room.

If you could take one career mulligan -- do one thing over -- what would it be and what would you do differently?

I really don't know. I'm one of those content people, to where I think everything is for a purpose and it helps you become a better person. Mistakes are definitely valid. But if I had to pick something, it would probably be high school.

7. Who's the best old-school rapper?

I think LL is still the best overall and Run DMC is still the best combo.

Who' s the best old-school baller?

Well I guess it'll be Michael Jordan now. Since he's retired.

Would it have been a different answer three weeks ago?

Yeah. Probably Magic or Kareem. I'm from kind of like a younger-older era, so to say. I mean, a lot of people might say Doc. Some might say Walt. Then there's West, Chamberlezzy . . . you know, Chamberlain.

8. Being Nelly is even better than it looks because . . .

Nelly
A lot of people would think Kelly was best suited for everything.
Just the overall feeling of accomplishing something you set out to do and being able to help those that you still care about dearly -- family members, friends.

And not many people get to star in a in video game.

That's right. You get videos, lots of perks. You get Stevie Wonder calling your hotel room. It's all good.

Being Nelly is harder than it looks because . . .

It's hard. Trust me, it's not easy. Staying in the studio until 6 in the morning is just one of the things.

9.I heard you just shot a Playboy photo shoot, as the photographer. Was that as grueling as it sounds?

Yeah, I already did it. Ah, the time, the pain, the suffering that I had to go through. I wouldn't recommend that for anybody.

You still "tired" from it?

Yeah, little bit.

You're backing a truck on the NASCAR truck circuit, right?

I think trucks are our entry into it. Hopefully, we can expand into the circuit. But as it goes now, it's really about taking it to the youth, and what better way to take it to the youth than hip-hop. It's not a real big urban market yet, and hopefully we can change that as well.

Have you ever raced cars?

I love speed. I love racing cars, whether it's on the streets or wherever. Don't tell the St. Louis police, though.

I'm sure you have a car that might be a little faster.

Yeah, I do, but they're waiting. They like to set up their little blocks.

Nelly
True to his songs, Nelly doesn't stray far from his St. Louis roots.
10. You were just named favorite male artist at the Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards. How does that make you feel?

It makes me feel good, because kids are unbelievable supporters of what it is I do. To have their support? That's longevity. As they get older they take you with them, so to speak. To get the Nickelodeon award? That's like 'it.' It's one of the best. It's definitely where you want to be in your career.

It's better than a Lifetime Achievement Award?

Yeah, because it means you're over.

You shot a video with Justin Timberlake and you two have a duet on your latest record. Tell us something that would surprise about Justin.

Justin's cool. You gotta know somebody before you say stuff about somebody else, and that goes with entertainers, period, including myself. Don't believe everything you read. Athletes are the same.

They're taking it all away tomorrow -- the fame, the fortune, the ladies, the shows. What do you do?

I'm back playin' ball on the weekends, havin' fun. I'm having fun now, but this is different. I enjoy playing in all those summer leagues and charity leagues. I'm still playing in the one I've played in since I was young. I still go back every summer and play in the same community center I've been playing in since I was 12. Basketball, softball all sorts of tournaments.