He wasted no time in defending his name after his friend claimed that he’d left his group behind for fame and fortune. Yesterday (February 2), St. Lunatics member Ali took to Instagram to share his side of the group’s story, accusing Nelly of signing a solo record deal and abandoning the collective that helped him grow. Ali stated that he’d penned some of Nelly’s rhymes and in turn, his friend and collaborator took off into stardom without looking back.
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However, Nelly is flatly denying those claims—and not just that, he recently detailed the story while visiting the St. Louis radio show What Up Doe. One of the hosts is good friends with Ali and has heard his side of the story, so Nelly decided to take it back to his hometown to clear the air.
“There’s three people in this group that’s been a lunatic since day one: Nelly, Kyjuan, and City [Spud],” said Nelly. “We all went to school together. Alright? Cool. When we first started the Lunatics, Ali was not in this group. Stop me when I’m lying.” The rapper said that Ali, along with two others, first partnered with the St. Lunatics as managers, not artists.
“When they said the Lunatics was doing all the legwork and talent shows and all of that, that was us. He didn’t do that,” Nelly continued. “When we was going around town making a name for ourselves, doing the car wash, performing at the talent shows at [colleges], that was us, that wasn’t Ali. Ali did not perform with us. Either he thought he was too good or he didn’t perform with us. Either way, he did not perform with us. Just factuals. Actual factuals.”
Nelly said that the group continued to build their brand and later, Jive Records hosted a showcase where the Lunatics performed. However, according to Nelly, Ali didn’t perform with them but with another artist “that worked at the barbershop.” Jive liked what the Lunatics had to offer and told the group that the label wanted to hear more music from them.
The Lunatics were presented with an offer that if they signed a deal with a local production company, they would be able to get free studio time. It was at that point, said Nelly, that Ali became an official member of St. Lunatics. It wasn’t a problem for the members because they thought of Ali as a big brother.
In turn, they began to work together and Ali came up with “Gimme What Ya Got,” a track that launched St. Lunatics into new visibility. In Ali’s Instagram post, he claims that he fought for Nelly’s verse to stay on the track when the powers that be wanted him removed, but according to Nelly, Ali allegedly told him that because he hadn’t signed the contract with the production company, they were going to ax him from the record.
Nelly thought they were all going to sign the contract together as the Lunatics and was unaware that deals had already been made. “Ali done got everybody to sign but me,” he said. “My back against the wall. I ain’t got no leverage.” Nelly couldn’t believe the moves that were being made, and soon, Cudda, Mase‘s manager, expressed interest, flew him out to New York, and told him that he needed to make a few solo songs.
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“That did not sit well with everybody,” admitted Nelly. He claimed that when he was presented with a record deal, he made sure that St. Lunatics was included for an album deal before they all recorded Country Grammar. However, Nelly said that after the album was finished, the Lunatics had a meeting with him in the studio and said they wanted their verses removed if they didn’t get adequate payment.
Nelly said he begged the label to pay them and the Lunatics did receive compensation—but it was taken from Nelly’s budget that he had to pay back to the label. He then talked about the group successes before Ali decided to quit and questioned why Ali once stated that he knew the ins and outs of the industry but still made glaring mistakes, according to Nelly.
You can check out Nelly’s passionate defense below beginning around the 101-minute mark.