Story Behind the Song: Nelly (Feat. Tim McGraw), ‘Over and Over’
When Nelly and Tim McGraw dropped their hip-hop-meets-country collaboration "Over and Over" in 2004, the rapper admits that he faced resistance from his record label. He was high on the success of his two biggest albums — his 2000 debut, Country Grammar, and his follow-up project, Nellyville — and the idea of a country crossover duet was a hard sell.
But in placing his trust in the music, Nelly proved that the unlikely collaboration was a success: The song reached the Top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became a platinum-certified hit.
Below, Nelly shares the story behind “Over and Over,” in his own words.
Tim was cool. Obviously, when I came up with that idea to do that record, everybody wasn't all gung-ho like they would probably say they are now, obviously seeing the success. I'm only meaning from the label part — the label that I was with and the people that I was working with — because you got to understand, I'm coming off of Country Grammar and Nellyville, so I'm coming off of two of my biggest projects to ever do it. And then, on this next project, I want to put this type of record on there, and I got this idea, and I think, out of respect of the label not really wanting to tell me no or piss me off, so to speak, they were kind of like, "Okay."
But a lot of people were completely honest with me and letting me know, "There's a lot of people at the label think that you're trying to ruin your career, you're trying to stop the pace," or you're trying to do this and you're trying to do that.
Once I convinced them to put it on the album was one thing, but convincing them to use it as a single was another thing; that was a whole other monster. But I always trusted in the music.
When we did the record, we actually recorded it in L.A. Tim was out there with Faith [Hill], even though she didn't come to the studio that day, but I know we were doing it, and I'm just going to say, we had a great time in the studio, me and Tim. We probably got a little bit off balance recording, and my man kind of lost track of time and was like, "Oh, s--t, I got to go meet Faith!" [Laughs].
But I give Tim so much credit, because you've got to understand, even though Nelly was Nelly at that time, Tim McGraw was still at a peak in his career where we he was growing, and he was if not the biggest thing or going to be the biggest thing in country music at that time. For him to entrust in a rapper, to give this a go, you got to understand how forward-thinking he was as well, because I could probably guess that he had a few people like, "Yo, are you sure? What is this going to do?"
But when you think about "Over and Over" and what it did for both our careers, I'm pretty sure Tim got a bunch of fans that he probably — Don't get it twisted, he was going to be Tim McGraw, but I'm pretty sure he picked up a few fans along that way that probably looked a little different, that was probably like, "Okay, let me check this guy out."
That launched the Budweiser campaign, a bunch of commercials. We had a ball, and I give him a lot of credit for even taking that chance. "Over and Over" is huge for both of us.
10 Country Crossovers That Actually Worked: