nelly, 2000s Hip-Hop

Nelly Cites Early 2000s Hip-Hop As The ‘Hardest Era Ever’

Nelly has sparked a debate after crediting the years from 1999 to 2010 as the "hardest era" of hip-hop music.

Nelly has sparked a debate after crediting the years from 1999 to 2010 as the “hardest era” of hip-hop music.

The Grammy award-winning rapper appeared on the latest episode of The Shop, where he sounded off about the stiff competition he was up against as a rapper in the early 2000s. Nelly, who made his music debut in 2000 with the smash hit “Country Grammar,” recalls how challenging it was to release music at the same time as hip-hop greats like Jay-Z, DMX, and many others.

“You gotta understand, my era of music was the toughest era in hip-hop ever. Ever!” Nelly said.

“When I put out songs, I had to go against DMX, Jay-Z, Eminem, Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, Luda — all of us are fighting for one spot. So from 99 to like 2008, 10? It’s the hardest era ever.”

Fans agreed with Nelly and named a few other acts Nelly forgot to include in his argument.

“T.I., Gucci, Jeezy, Kanye many more i have to agree it was tough,” one user wrote.

“He forgot the great OUTKAST,” added someone else.

Nelly’s debut album, Country Grammar, birthed three top 20 Billboard hits, including the album’s title track, “E.I.,” and “Ride Wit Me.” The St. Louis native was a strong contender for Best New Artist at the 2001 Grammy Awards but failed to receive a nomination in the category that ended up going to Alicia Keys.

Nelly’s first album has sold over 10 million copies to date, with his follow-up album, Nellyville selling 7 million copies, Business Insider reported. The early 2000s was a heyday for hip-hop, with names like Eminem selling over 32 million albums during the decade, and 50 Cent releasing two albums, Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and The Massacre, that topped the Billboard 200 albums chart and spawned three No. 1 hits: “In Da Club,” “21 Questions,” and “Candy Shop.” Another early 2000s chart-topper in hip-hop is Ja Rule, who secured two No. 1 albums and three No. 1 singles between 2000 and 2003.