Nelly is a 46 year old rapper, singer-songwriter & entrepreneur from St. Louis, Missouri who skyrocketed to fame a little over 2 decades back by dropping his debut Country Grammar. His next 2 albums Nellyville & Sweatsuit were just as solid but since then, the quality of his music has taken a drastic nosedive. But after taking an 8 year hiatus following M.O., the dude is coming back in effect for his 7th full-length outing.
“Lil Bit” with Florida Georgia Line kicks things off with a hideous bro-country tune that really sets the tone for the album if you really think about it in the grand scheme of things, because “High Horse” takes a dancier tone telling their ladies to drop it on them. “Grits & Glamour” with Kane Brown sappily proclaims being a mix of hood & country just before City Spud & Darius Rucker tag along to fuse acoustics & trap to tell the story of “Ms. Drive Me Crazy”.
Meanwhile on “Country Boy Do” with Tyler Hubbard is a guitar driven ballad about growing up in the south leading into “Someone Somewhere” with George Birge takes a summery turn saying “everybody’s gotta miss somebody”. The penultimate song 5 Drinks Ago” boringly opens up about having his phone taken away while being drunk & even though “Good Times Roll” with Jimmie Allen is technically a bonus cut, the actual closer “Follow Me” with Chris Bandi ends the album with a glossy anthem about a place where we all gon’ shine.
I’m not against country music at all because I happen to be a huge Johnny Cash fan & I don’t hate the country rap subgenre either, as I enjoyed projects like Trial by Fire or even Big B’s last album Welcome to the Club. That being said, Heartland is unquestionably the worst thing Nelly has ever done. Primarily because 95% of the country/hip hop fusions he tries to pull of seem forced.