Nelly Says ‘Doubt’ Fueled His New Album

'I work best with two strikes, two outs,' MC says of working on his follow-up to 2008's Brass Knuckles.

NEW YORK — After the lukewarm reception [artist id="760701"]Nelly[/artist] received on the albums Sweat and Suit (two albums released on the same day in 2004) and the follow-up Brass Knuckles, the hip-hop Mayor of St. Louis has been back in the studio focusing on sounding better than ever.

“The thing is, I work best with two strikes, two outs,” Nelly said recently. “I really think I do. As an artist, you want to wake up every day and feel like you’re doing something people don’t think you can do. Now I feel like I’ve been put in that position again, where it’s more doubt than expectancy. The doubt is what fuels me, so to speak. I’ve been real fortunate where I have great people around me. Everybody wants to freakin’ work with me — not that everybody didn’t [before], but it’s different because I didn’t work with a lot of people. Coming into this situation, it’s beautiful.”

Nelly worked with producers Play-N-Skillz on a track called “Angel Eyes,” a record that samples Kim Carnes’ classic “Bette Davis Eyes.” Mr. Pimp Juice also says he has some samples of jazz great Miles Jaye as well as Notorious B.I.G. on a track called “Thousand Stacks.” Diddy, Jim Jonsin and Rico Love also produced on the album.

“In the booth right now, it’s kind of different,” he said about his guest stars. “I got Sean Paul, Akon … as far as the rappers go, Plies. Me and Jeezy talking about some things now. I’m not finished, but I’m a good portion on the way.”

Nelly’s album is still untitled.