Before he told us to 'Shake Ya Tailfeather', before he made things 'Hot In Herre' and before he introduced us to his Country Grammar, there was Nelly & The Tiks. Features unreleased and exclusive tracks showcasing the underground St. Louis movement that started it all. Includes the singles 'Gimme What U Got' and 'Check The Rhyme'. Fast Life. 2006.
This is not a new album but rather, a compilation of early St. Lunatics material. Some of the songs date as far back as 1996. More to the point, though Nelly gets first billing for obvious reasons, on the album, he's really just one rapper amongst several; other MCs like City Spud and Lil T get equal time. Though songs like the title track find Nelly flashing the sing-songy style that he'd make famous with "Country Grammar," recent fans might be confused as to why everyone's rhyming over Puffy-styled, late-90s beats. This isn't a bad thing: one could well imagine that local smash "Gimme What U Got" had national hit potential with its thick bassline and P-funk touches, but "Who's the Boss?" is definitely a time-warp, especially as you can trace how so many of the St. Lunatics were actually far more ambitious lyricists back in the '90s but have since simplified their style for mass appeal. --Oliver Wang