In the wake of what can only be deemed The Great Nellyssance of 2014, fueled by a Bay Area radio station’s recent decision to play the songster’s 2002 scorching hit single “Hot in Herre” on a continual loop, I have decided to conduct a similar experiment. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen: for the next hour, I plan to watch the music video and make culturally (ir)relevant observations. Let’s proceed!
Listen 1: I’ve been aware of this for quite some time, but Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” is perhaps the greatest dance song of our generation. I realize this means that Nelly theoretically trumps greats like Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Lil Jon (and his East Side Boyz), but it’s a claim I’m willing to make for the sake of hyperbolic, sensational journalism. But really it’s because the song captures, in no uncertain terms, the most common side effect of moving vigorously in a crowded room full of others doing the same: inevitably, it gets really hot (in herre), and you feel compelled, at least mentally, to remove some or all of your clothing. I do find it puzzling that although the lyrics advocate a full disrobing, not a single member of Nelly’s crew, male or female, follows through on that promise. Perhaps the logic of this will be revealed to me as this experiment continues.
From the window, to the wall, there’ll be sweat drippin’ down your… well, everything.
Listen 4: I’m now fully immersed in the club Nelly and his fellow St. Lunatics are occupying. I should note, however, that I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life. Sure, I’ve been to clubs, and sure, I’ve danced myself into a sweaty frenzy on many occasions, but I’ve never had the distinct pleasure of witnessing an entire room full of men and women so deeply committed to bustin’ loose. Usually any evening of sweaty dancing is tempered by the buzzkill that is a bunch of dudes just standing around holding their beers and refusing to move any body part that isn’t implicated in the holding of said beer. Everyone here seems fully willing to surrender to dance, although it might just be the fact that Cedric The Entertainer is DJ for the night and, as previously mentioned, he’s spinning the greatest dance song of our generation.
Listen 7: Windows informs me that my computer’s graphics driver just temporarily stopped working and has now recovered from what I imagine might have been a serious digital catastrophe. My computer finds this song literally too hot to handle, but it can’t even take off any or all of its clothes. As I sit and listen to Nelly in horror while staring at a black screen for what seems like an eternity (probably 5 seconds), I think to myself that I will probably want to restart my computer after this experiment is over.
Band-Aid? Nelly’s got it on lock.
Listen 10: I decide to track the positioning of Nelly’s infamous Band-Aid over the course of video to determine if there is any slippage that occurs when his facial oils combine with the room’s relative humidity to cause a significant loss of friction. So far, so good. This makes me wonder if he’s used some kind of epoxy to adhere the Band-Aid to his face, which makes me concerned for Nelly’s health.
Listen 12: Good gracious, that ass is really bodacious.
Listen 13: At the 2:40 mark in the video, the club is literally set on fire, the result of a speaker’s faulty wiring and/or the fact that it is so hot in there. No one, save for Cedric The Entertainer, seems particularly concerned about this fiery calamity in the making. In fact, the clubgoers seem content to enthusiastically begin chanting the hook from Rock Master Scott & The Dynamic Three’s hit single, “The Roof is on Fire.” I, however, am terrified. I mentally remind myself that this video was released a year prior to the 2003 Station Nightclub fire, during which 100 people were burned alive when a fire broke out during a Great White concert. It’s chilling what such perspective retrospectively brings, and I am immensely relieved when the sprinklers come on, although this isn’t until the 3:35 minute mark that the sprinklers come on (almost a FULL MINUTE after Cedric The Entertainer announces the fire). The sprinklers lead to a fortuitous outcome as the women in the club start removing their shirts en masse to reveal sexy bikini tops underneath. Did the women know their collective hotness would lead to a fire, causing them to come prepared in their finest swimwear? Are they in Miami or something? No, they’re in St. Louis, where I don’t imagine people wear swimsuits as undergarments most of the time. The jury is still out on this one.
Are you there Nelly? It’s me, Nelly.
Listen 14: YouTube is suggesting that I take a break from Nelly to watch more Nelly, such as the classic “Dilemma” featuring a foxy Kelly Rowland, or even that I switch over to his contemporaneous female name-sharing counterpart, Nelly Furtado. I can’t even begin to think about watching “Promiscuous,” since all I want to do is watch “Hot in Herre” forever and ever until one of two things happens: I die in a blaze of Nelly-fueled glory, or my computer overheats and I’m forced to let it cool down and go make some lunch.
Listen 17: I have a friend who wrote a fantastic academic paper about the use of the “-err” variable in St. Louis and in the rest of the country. Although I have a college degree in linguistics, this paper has always been beyond my theoretical grasp. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been watching these jiggling breasts and Nelly’s irresistible head wobble for the last hour.
So ah – what’s the word I’m looking for – so hot in here/herre.
Listen 18: It also occurs to me that rather than saying “herre” (to sound like “her”), Nelly really just seems to be saying “here,” at least as far as the chorus is concerned. This seems problematic. I try to remain aware of the fact that it’s probably very hot where he is, and physical fatigue makes one more prone to speech errors.
Listen 18: Were there an unusually large number of belly-button piercings in 2002, or is this a Nelly thing? Or do people still have a ton of belly-button piercings (meaning there are many people each with one belly-button piercing, rather than a few people each having many belly button piercings)? What is the current fashionability status of belly-button piercings?
Nellyville. Population: Nelly. And Anya.
Listen 20: Is Nellyville a place or a state of mind? Because I want to go to there.
If you’re going to feed birds, there’s a more economical way to do it.
Listen 21: When Nelly talks about his penthouse room at the top of the Four Seasons, does he really plan on feeding birds on his private rooftop? Because it seems like he could feed birds just about anywhere, on a much more reasonable budget.
You want me to do what? With a birdfeeder?
Listen 22: In the third verse, Nelly invites the girl of his dreams for the evening to come to his friend’s house where he has a pole in the basement, but, when faced with the girl’s incredulity (what?), he rescinds the offer, claiming that he’s just kidding like Jason (Kidd, of NBA fame)…. This is unless, however, she is actually “gon’ do it,” in which case Nelly would actually be quite pleased. An interesting way to cover your tracks, Nelly, although this seems like a more demure suggestion than what you’ve been touting in the hook – that is, imploring your dream lady to let it hang all out and/or let it just fall out.
Listen 24: After 24 viewings of the video, there is a large part of my soul that wants to continue doing this forever and ever (as mentioned in my 14th viewing of the video). But, there is a a larger part of me that wants lunch, with a little bit of ah, ah, and a sprinkle of that, ah, ah (the ah, ah in this case being mushroom and barley soup and the other ah, ah being a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of dill). However, there’s only so much Nelly one can view in a day (106 minutes of hotness to be exact) so I’m going to have to throw in the towel, and my outermost layer of clothes, on this one. See you in Nellyville!