NEW YORK — For the majority of his recording career Nelly has kept things clean, and that's the way the St. Louis rap star intends to keep it.
Things got sketchy for the "Hot in Herre" spitter on October 11 when law enforcement officials in Texas pulled over his tour bus and uncovered heroin, over 10 pounds of marijuana and a loaded .45 caliber handgun. A member of Nelly's crew, Brian Keith, was arrested and Nelly — who has not been charged with a crime in connection to the bus raid — quickly released a statement distancing himself from the drama.
But weeks later, Nelly is still bothered by the situation.
"I think it's always alarming. I think in this case it's really alarming when you find yourself in a situation that you didn't put yourself in," he told MTV News on Tuesday (October 23). "That's the only thing that I think is baffling, and I think that's the part that hurts the most."
Even though the dirty version of Nelly's first single, 2000's "Country Grammar," contained veiled references to street-sweepers and drive-by shootings, the truth is the multiplatinum rap talent has gone to great lengths to keep a polished image and, for the most part, he has succeeded.
"It is my understanding a member of my staff made an unfortunate decision to bring unlawful materials onto our tour bus that resulted in his arrest this morning, October 11th," Nelly said in a statement, addressing the bust earlier this month. "Neither I nor anyone else on the tour bus was aware of his decision to bring these on board. Law enforcement officials in Sierra Blanca, Texas did not press charges against anyone other than that individual."
The music star has a new mixtape and album on the horizon and he looks to continue building his brand. "For 14 years, I made my perception what I wanted to make my perception and now my perception may be slightly changed," he said of the possible fallout. "Not because of what I did, but because of what someone else did and I think that's the part that hurts you the most.
"If I'mma put a dent in anything that I do, then let me be the one to put that dent in it," he continued. "I think that's the only part that gets me."
No matter the circumstances, though, Nelly still views Keith as family. "It is a sensitive situation because, be that as it may, that's like family to me and sometimes family are the ones that hurt you the worse. But at the end of the day, they still are family," he said. "For a long time someone protected my life with their life, and be that as it may, I can't overlook that."