Universal - 2004 - Sweat: 61 minutes, Suit: 57 minutes
How the heart sinks. Last year, Outkast released twin albums that sustain their quality over the epic length of two discs, showcasing their remarkable abilities to the fullest possible extent.
Now every half-wit reckons he has a double album inside him, burning to be released. 'Sweat and Suit' supposedly showcases the sophisticated and the full-on sides of Nelly's oh-so-complex musical personality. Given that his chief talent is wearing a plaster on his cheek, this was hardly a genius move by his record company.
It's not a complete write-off. 'Na Na Naaa' could be the twin of Usher's superior 'Yeah!' while the Neptunes do weave some familiar magic on the delirious 'Fly Your Wings'. But the attentions of zillionaire super-producers are wasted on the mediocrity at the microphone and the straight Curtis Mayfield jack on 'Tilt Ya Head Back' could be P Diddy at his most cynical.
The production line of untalented, uncharismatic hip-hop stars still rustily churns along, cannibalising any remotely worthwhile musical ideas into a mess of ego-driven, self-aggrandising claptrap.
Nelly is the musical equivalent of a Chicken McNugget, his sounds mechanically recovered from the floor of a musical slaughterhouse and dusted with a magic crispy coating. And just like fast food, it only seems like a good idea after midnight when you're a few sheets to the wind.
With 27 tracks and a combined running time of two hours, 'Sweat' and 'Suit' are the product of an industry sick with a bad case of elephantiasis. They deserve to fall flat on their overblown faces. Do I think they will? Not on your Nelly...
Sweat tracklisting: Heart of a Champion - Na-NaNa-Na - Flap Your Wings - American Dream - River Don't Runnn - Tilt Ya Head Back - Grand Hang Out - Getcha Getcha - Another One - Spida Man - Playa - Down in Da Water - Boy - Don't Stop
Suit tracklisting: Play It Off - Pretty Toes - My Place - Paradise - She Don't Know My Name - N Dey Say - Woodgrain and Leather Wit a Hole - In My Life - Over and Over - Nobody Knows - Die For You - Ride Wit Me (Remix) - Dilemma (Remix)