A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is the harder-edged of the two simultaneous CDs that Nelly released. But it's a good album, with moments of surprising poetry and insight nestled in the cracks between lots of macho posturing.
What's the story?
Nelly's SWEAT, released at the same time as the more intimate SUIT, offers an array of interesting musical moments. \"Heart of a Champion,\" sounds almost like the overture of a hip Off-Broadway musical with majestic horn tracks, a theatrical dialogue introduction, and unison choral singing by the Lincoln University Vocal Ensemble. A quick change of pace leads to \"Na-Nana-Na,\" a multilayered Middle-Eastern-tinged confection featuring Jazze Pha. Lyrics combine transparent sexist posturing and egomaniacal bragging with moments of poetry and power. \"River Don't Run,\" for example, is viable reggae with an anti-violence message. \"Tilt Ya Head Back\" channels vintage R&B with a surprisingly effective guest vocal by Christina Aguilera. Nelly's production team never lets him down, with exquisitely layered tracks.
Is it any good?
The CD presents an intriguing variety of well-produced and rhythmically varied tunes featuring heavy-hitting guest artists who save the day, including Missy Elliot, Lil' Flip and Big Gipp, Mobe Deep, St. Lunatics, Christina Aguilera, Murphy Lee, Stephen Marley, and Jazze Pha. It would be hard to imagine this album working without their participation, actually. Nelly's greatest talent may be his ability to play well with others. Still, this album is meant to be enjoyed by mature listeners, and is not appropriate for kids.