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Season 1 E 217 • 03/07/2011
Behind the Music: Nelly will trace the artist's epic journey from St. Louis hoodlum to rap superstar. Born to parents who were unable to care for him, Nelly spent his early years bouncing from home to home, sleeping on couches and changing schools with alarming regularity. This lack of supervision quickly led to a life of crime. Before he was old enough to have a driver's license he had already been arrested for stealing cars. Later, he joined a gang, shot a man, and sold drugs while his infant daughter slept in the back seat. What eventually saved him was his love of music. He joined a group called the St. Lunatics and finally found the family he'd been lacking his whole life. But loyalty to that family would be tested when record labels came calling, saying, "We want you--not them." With his group's blessing, Nelly signed to Universal and released "Country Grammer." The album sold nearly 10 million copies and forever changed the face of hip hop. But since then, life has hardly been easy for Nelly. From album flops and controversial videos to his best friend's incarceration and his sister's tragic death from leukemia, Nelly has battled plenty of demons. "Yeah I've had my fair share of tragedies," says Nelly, "but I also feel like karma's a bitch and it's payback for all the dumb s*** I did, all the people's lives that I helped ruin." In this Behind the Music, Nelly tells stories he's never told before publicly and for the first time addresses his relationship with Ashanti, who is also interviewed. Hear the tragic and triumphant tale of his life through in-depth interviews with close friends, family, and the person who knows it best of all--Nelly himself. VH1 has re-imagined "Behind The Music" to now focus on top current artists who have had a major impact on the music scene from rock to hip hop to pop. Expanding on the storytelling legacy that has earned the series five Emmy nominations, each episode will include verite footage of the artists at work today, connecting the past with the present, the music with the life.