NEW YORK — Millions have heard Nelly's "Pimp Juice" on the radio and on his Nellyville CD, and the gold-toothed dancefloor king doesn't see why the masses can't indulge in his energy drink of the same name. All he wants to do is provide them with an added boost.
"I'm just starting to hear [about] it," Nelly said Wednesday of the flak he's been getting over his drink. Two weeks ago, Project Islamic Hope, the National Alliance for Positive Action and the National Black Anti-Defamation League held a press conference in Los Angeles to call for a boycott of Pimp Juice, calling the name vile and "insulting to women" (see "Nelly's Pimp Juice Threatened By Anti-Pimp Campaign").
"Since I've been able to get into the game, I've had one controversy or another," Nelly continued with his wide, unassuming country-boy grin. "Fortunately in hip-hop we've been able to take a lot of negatives and turn them into positives. Like I said before, Pimp Juice is nothing derogatory, it's an energy drink. It's not an alcoholic beverage or nothing like that. I'm a big fan of sports. With [the St. Lunatics], we need a lot of energy. We're constantly working."
Nelly had better get himself a few cases of Pimp Juice, because his work schedule will intensify over the next few months. There's a remix album he wants to put out at the end of the year, and in 2004 he wants to release his new solo album and a St. Lunatics LP.
The rapper's remixing his music "just to add a little flavor to it," he explained, and though he was tightlipped about who'd be appearing on the disc, he let it slip on "TRL" that Ron Isley would show up on a new version of "Pimp Juice." "It's not to try to recapture anything. It's just that a lot of times, you've got a lot of your peers, they wanna work with you on certain things and didn't get the opportunity. We're just doing some [songs] over strictly for the fun."
As for his follow-up to Nellyville, "I'm gonna start working on that at the end of this year," he said. "I'm getting ideas and figuring out where I wanna take it. Even when I was doing Nellyville I was thinking about the third album. Right now our main priority was getting the Murphy [Lee album] out, lending him the same support he gave me."
Lee's Murphy's Law, the first release from Nelly's Derrty Entertainment imprint, drops Tuesday, and the St. Lunatics have been on the road together for the past few months to get the word out.
Wednesday night at New York's club Vue, 3LW and Tweet were among those who ventured out for a party in support of the album. Not only did partygoers get to slurp drinks like Orange Bling-Bling and Playa Punch, they got to see all the 'Tics take the stage and back Murph and Nelly on tracks like "Shake Your Tailfeather." (Click for photos from the event.)
"We feel real good about it," Nelly said about the camp's excitement surrounding Murphy's debut. "It's one of our own that we all kinda helped raise. It's more than an investment behind it, it's love behind it. You wanna see him succeed, not because you're profiting, but because you're a part of it. You know how much he worked and you see how much he wants it. They saw how bad I wanted it and they gave me their support."
"We all look out for each other," Murph concurred. "Nelly's my uncle, brother, workmate, cousin all in one."
And while Murph is looking out for his fellow 'Tics, he wants fans to look out for their latest non-musical endeavor: a potato chip called Red Hot Riplets. Now they have something to eat while they drink their Pimp Juice.
"It was a St. Louis chip," he said. "Don't nobody know about it but St. Louis, but we finnin' to take it everywhere. Anything that has to do with St. Louis, we're trying to be involved. We're trying to take it wider than Budweiser."