Nelly has been a reigning force in the hip-hop and pop arenas for decades now. Cornell Iral Haynes Jr. first signed to Universal Records in 1999, and kicked off his solo career with 2000’s unstoppable classic Country Grammar, quickly becoming a household name and scoring multiple hits like “Ride Wit Me” and the title track. Then, his 2002 album Nellyville was arguably even more commercial with the massive “Hot In Herre” (which still gets played at clubs) and the ubiquitous “Air Force Ones.”
All this to say, for the last twenty years Nelly has been a dominant presence in the music industry, so the BET’s decision to honor him this year with the “I Am Hip-Hop” award is right on the money. In full circle fashion, Nelly delivered the award to LL Cool J ten years ago, and is now in a position to receive it himself. Pas honorees include Grandmaster Flash in 2006, Scarface in 2015, Lil Wayne in 2018, and Master P in 2020.
“I am honored to receive this award and humbled to be in such great company of past artists who have received this award,” Nelly said in a press release. “I have been blessed to work with some incredible people in my career, making 22 years go by in the blink of an eye. This award isn’t just about Nelly; it is about my fans, BET, and the people that continue to support me and allow me to do what I love to do.”
The BET Awards will air on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at 9 PM on BET. Tune in then to see Nelly accept his award.