“Country Grammar made a huge splash in summer 2000, and did so for a reason. It’s an exceptional album, one that breaks all the rap industry’s unwritten rules. Who would have anticipated, after all, that a Midwestern rapper who sang somewhat nonsensical hooks would make such a huge splash?” (Birchmeier).
“With little precedent, Nelly emerged from St. Louis with Country Grammar’s incredibly catchy title track as his lead single and had legions of listeners singing along within weeks. In particular, the song’s tongue-twisting chorus is downright infectious: ‘I’m goin down down baby, yo’ street in a Range Rover/Street sweeper, baby, cocked ready to let it go/Shimmy shimmy cocoa what? Listen to it pound/Light it up and take a puff, pass it to me now’ – or something like that” (Birchmeier).
You “get lots of polished singalong hooks” (Birchmeier) and “moments like this on Country Grammar” (Birchmeier) – moments “that seem more prevalent in pop music than rap” (Birchmeier). “Ride wit Me and E.I.…similarly stick with you despite being so tongue-twisting and puzzling” (Birchmeier).
“More than anything, Nelly’s knack for writing – and singing – such infectious hooks makes Country Grammar such an exceptional album for its time. You get all the Dirty South motifs here, both lyrical and musical” (Birchmeier) and “even if he seems like a wannabe thug here at times, such as on Greed, Hate, Envy, this posturing doesn’t spoil anything” (Birchmeier).
“This is precisely why Country Grammar is so successful despite being admittedly derived and spotty, not to mention lacking consistently engaging production” (Birchmeier).