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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Nelly Says His Family 'Flipped Out' Over New Duet With Janet

MC, singer recently shot 'Call on Me' video in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS — As you might guess, enjoying the distinction of working with both Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson in less than a year has been "a dream come true" for Nelly. "Amazing," Nelly said of the collaborations while sitting in Mack's, the new sports bar he owns with the St. Lunatics, on Thursday. He recently filmed the video for his "Call on Me" duet with Jackson, and he worked with M.C. on her The Emancipation of Mimi album."I'm big fans of both of them. Mariah Carey, she's possibly the best singer I've heard," he said. "And you watch someone such as Mariah, who went from the highest of the high to the lowest of the low, and come back like she never missed a beat, and stand up and smack everybody in the face like, 'I'm still here; matter of fact I'm better' — that gives you inspiration. That keeps me going. "Then Janet Jackson — come on, man, that's Penny! That's Charlene," he continued, referring to Jackson's sitcom roles on "Good Times" and "Diff'rent Strokes." "Where do you go from there? It's a beautiful thing."Nelly said his family was especially excited when it heard about the Jackson song, which will appear on her forthcoming LP, 20 Years Old. "My family flipped out," he smiled, showing off a diamond grill covering the bottom row of his teeth. "They're definitely fans of the Jacksons. I grew up singing Jackson Five songs. My uncle put a little band together with all the kids, and I used to have to be Mike. This was a long time ago."The King of St. Louis said he made it a point to do true collaborations with Mariah and Janet, rather than make the track the way artists typically do — where the singer records 90 percent of the record and sends the Pro Tools file to another studio for the MC to lay his verse and ad libs."I wanted to do something different," he explained. "I just don't want to be, 'You do the song and I put the 16 [bars] on the end, or eight bars on the front.' With Mariah, I went in, me and Mariah sat down and wrote the song out. With Janet, we went in, wrote the song out. It's not like they had the song done and said, 'Nelly, put your thing on it.' I'm happy it went that way because I feel more of a part of it. You can't take me off and still have a song."Although Nelly loved recording with Janet, he deemed the Mariah sessions the most fun he's ever had in two days in a studio. "When me and Mariah did the joint, we had the studio locked down," he recalled. "I was working on Sweatsuit, Snoop was working on his album and Mariah was working on her album. We had all the studio's doors open because we're all family."Snoop's room was little more smoky than everybody else's," he joked. "Matter of fact, I was in with Christina Aguilera in my studio and was going back and forth with Mariah. We had the basketball goal in there, we was hooping — me, Ali and one of our partners [against] Snoop, Nate Dogg and somebody else. Everybody was chilling. We in the studio, hooping like we outdoors."So is Nelly going to call on Janet or Mariah, or maybe both superstars to return the favor and sing on his next LP? Maybe — he isn't sure about any collaborations just yet. His next record won't drop until next year, he said. He wants to concentrate on releasing albums by the artists on his Derrty Entertainment imprint.Big Gipp and Ali have their duo LP, Kinfolk, coming in the next couple of months and Murphy Lee might drop his second album, The Package, before this year's out as well. If not, the youngest 'Tic will come next year, followed by Nelly and new singer Avery Storm.


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