On this day in Hip Hop history, St. Louis rap icon Nelly released his Grammy debut LP Country Grammar. Released by Universal Records, the unique pop-rap-country sound of this project struck well with consumers and critics alike peaking at #1 on both the Billboard 200 and Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop charts.

Whether it was intended or not, this album set the bar high for all other summertime albums to come in the new millennium. This mixture of Jason “Jay E” Epperson’s production and Nelly’s Missouri slang proved to be the perfect formula for a high energy album hosting some of the decade’s hottest party tracks.

The sing-along appeal of this project is what brought it so much commercial success. Along with topping the US music charts, this album also made chart appearances in Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, France, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, and the UK. The album was also certified platinum in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and of course the United States (where it sold 9,000,000 copies).

The album contained hit singles “Country Grammar” (which was nominated for a Grammy), “E.I.,” “Ride Wit Me” and “Batter Up” which all made international music chart appearances. Critics across the board hailed this album as a breakthrough in Hip Hop, never before had a project come from the Midwest with so much appeal to other regions of the country.

Following this album, Nelly grew to be one of the brightest stars of the 2000’s putting out multiple multi-platinum albums and winning a plethora of awards for his musical ability. He has also since had a successful career on-screen both in films and on television.