Nelly Just Sold Half His Music Catalog For $50 Million


If you thought the trend of artists selling their catalogs for huge paydays was over, Nelly just proved the market is still very much “Hot in Herre!”…

The 48-year-old Missouri rapper just sold 50% of his catalog for $50 million. That means he just received a $50 million payday AND still owns 50% of a catalog that is now worth $100 million overall, on paper. So Nelly gets $50 million in cash (direct deposit) PLUS another $50 million in paper equity added to his net worth.

(Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images)

Nelly offloaded the 50% stake to a private equity firm called HarbourView Equity Partners. Prior to this deal, HarbourView was best known for buying Latin superstar Luis Fonsi’s entire publishing catalog back in January 2022 for an undisclosed amount.

HarbourView was founded by Sherrese Clarke Soares, an African American woman born to Jamaican immigrants. Soares has raised $1 billion from Apollo Global Management for HarbourView to invest in music catalogs, especially those from Black and Latin artists. Soares was connected to Apollo through Reggie Love, a former advisor to Barack Obama who is now a senior advisor at Apollo. Soares and Love connected on a shared desire to diversify the world of private equity.

As for the catalog HarbourView just acquired for $50 million, it includes eight albums and dozens of hit singles, including several that reached #1 on various charts. For example:

  • Hot in Herre“: This infectious dance track from his second album, “Nellyville,” topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart and won the Grammy Award for Best Male Rap Solo Performance in 2003.
  • Dilemma“: A duet with Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland, this song also reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and won a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
  • Country Grammar (Hot Shit)“: This was Nelly’s debut single and it peaked at number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • Ride Wit Me“: Featuring City Spud, this single peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and helped establish Nelly’s reputation for catchy, feel-good anthems.
  • Just a Dream“: This song from his 2010 album “5.0” reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, demonstrating Nelly’s longevity in the music industry.
  • Over and Over“: A collaboration with country singer Tim McGraw, this genre-blending track peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and showcased Nelly’s versatility as an artist.

Speaking purely from personal experience, Nelly’s 2000 debut “Country Grammar” was a generation-defining album. It was one of the very last CDs everyone had to own. Even 20+ years later, if you want to get a bunch of 35-45 year olds really excited on the dance floor, open up “Country Grammar” on Spotify, press play on track one and step back.

Country Grammar didn’t go platinum. It went DIAMOND. That means more than 10 million copies sold. It is only the eighth rap album ever to go Diamond.

10 Best-Selling Rap Albums Ever

#10: 50 Cent “Get Rich or Die Tryin'” (2003) – 8.1 million copies sold

#9: Beastie Boys “Licensed to Ill” (1986) – 9 million

#8: 2Pac “All Eyez on Me” (1996) – 9 million

#7: Nelly “Country Grammar” (2000) – 10 million

#6: 2Pac “Greatest Hits” (1998) – 10 million

#5: MC Hammer “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em” (1990) – 10 million

#4: Eminem “The Eminem Show” (2002) – 10.1 million

#3: The Notorious B.I.G. “Life After Death” (1997) – 10.2 million

#2: Eminem “The Marshall Mathers LP” (2000) – 10.6 million

#1: OutKast “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” (2003) – 11.4 million

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