NEW YORK Though you may have seen them together on last year's Super Bowl halftime show, this year's Grammy Awards and in the current video for 'NSYNC's remix for "Girlfriend," Nelly said that he and his "dirty," Justin Timberlake, don't really get a chance to hang out that much. But when they do, they make it count.
Most recently, the two collaborated on Nelly's next release, Nellyville, due June 25. "I got a surprise track that's on there," Nelly said of the LP Monday night at Times Square's W Hotel, fresh from traveling on the road. "Justin did a song for me. I didn't want to come off fake with it. I'm not trying to take him off into a different element where people be like, 'That's Justin doing that? C'mon. That ain't right.' So we just did something we had in common, and that was girls."
Forget the fact that Justin is arguably the most popular singer on the planet, or that his vocal skills have helped 'NSYNC sell more records in the past few years than most labels' entire rosters. The St. Louis rapper joked that J.T.'s origins are what really impressed him.
"He's a cool dirty," Nelly said of their relationship. "Once I found out he was from Memphis, that sewed it up for me. I was like, 'OK, I see you in a whole new light. You Memphis family.' I meet up with [him] at different parties. It's hard [to hang out] 'cause he's crazy busy. I'm ripping and running as well. We ain't really got a chance to sit down and kick it, but we always got that, 'I'mma call, I'mma call. We'll chill.' "
There wasn't too much chilling during the days leading up to the Grammy Awards. Nelly said 'NSYNC went through a rigorous rehearsal process and he didn't see them much before the show. However, he loved finally getting onstage with them.
"It was crazy," he said nonchalantly of the performance. "They just asked me would I do it and I said, 'Why not? It's the Grammys. It's on.' "
He had that same laid-back attitude when it came to recording his verses on the "Girlfriend" remix, despite some second guessers around him.
"When the thing came up, a lot of people was like, 'You don't wanna do that remix, do you?' " said Nelly, who shot a new part for the video with Justin to be inserted into the clip that's already running. "I'm like, 'Why not? Tell me why not.' The song was hot. I can see if the song was [wack]. Then I would have been like, 'That ain't it.'
"Actually, Justin was [in the studio with me]," he added. "And [the Neptunes] were there. I just kind of vibed. I wanted to wait until I got there until I wrote it. I wanted to feel what kind of vibe they was giving off. When I got there, I kind of put something together. They dug it. It was cool, I came up with it pretty quick. I think to be the best, you gotta show flexibility. I didn't really try to censor nothing but I went with the flow of the song, and kept everything in line."