Rapper Nelly has won Grammys, sold millions of albums, and put St. Louis on the international rap map. Interestingly, he has spoken about the influence of Bay Area hip-hop — and particularly tongue-twisting wordsmith E-40 — since the beginning. 40 appeared on the remix of Nelly's first hit "Country Grammar," and his son Droop-E recently produced Nelly's song "The Bay," on which Nelly makes multiple references to songs by 40 as well as Oakland's Too $hort, rapping in the icons' signature cadences over a hyped-up club track: "Pocket full of fatties and sippin' on Hurricane/So just sprinkle me, mayne." (For our Q&A with Nelly on his Bay Area rap heroes and more, visit http://blogs.sfweekly.com/shookdown/).
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