It's been years since Nelly reigned, and like The Game's, this fourth album is star-studded for insurance. Lil Wayne and T-Pain, who are occupying Nelly's old number-one spot, are just about the only big dogs not on Brass Knuckles.
T.I. holds his own here, but is LL still bitterly spitting subliminals at Jay-Z, claiming to be "the blueprint" as the admirable Hold Up fades out? Probably. Doggs Snoop and Nate stop by for a decent homage to the city of angels, before Usher and Nelly harmonize together on a futuristic little ditty that might remove a few panties after midnight. And did I read that right? Nelly featuring Chuck D? Yeah, and it's not bad. A blaxploitation-inspired bump brings their worlds together for an inspiring anti-war anthem about self-esteem.
But Stepped On My J'z? Doesn't Nelly have bodyguards to stop that? Nelly, if you want to keep your Nike sponsorship and make Air Force Ones Part 2, just do it. It's sure not a knockout, but it's his hardest-hitting album yet. Just don't call it a comeback.