At one point two decades ago, Nelly and the St. Lunatics were one of the hottest acts in the music industry. The collective scored a Platinum-certified project with 2001’s Free City, but Nelly was the clear breakout star with four #1 Hot 100 hits.
Self-described St. Lunatics founder Ali took to Instagram to share some of his thoughts about the group’s creation and separation. In a lengthy post, the 47-year-old Heavy Starch album creator claimed Nelly hustled the rest of the members.
Them: “Ali, you’re being childish.., why are you putting it on social media Ali, Nelly’s not saying anything he’s staying positive.” Me: Nah, he’s just the type to throw a rock and hide his hand!! I throw mine… and say “yeah I did it.” Nelly: “The Original hustlers since day one…KNOW THAT “…ALWAYS!! This is PERFECT because I’ve been explaining to Murph, Kyjuan and Slo that this was the “ORIGINAL Hustle”… They heard me talking yet didn’t quite understand…..this officially connected the dots. 1993 I started the Group, taught them how to Rhyme, from writing to teaching them what 16 bars was & how to count bars….. Fast forward 1997: I make a record (gimme what you got) The label that we were wit didn’t want Nelly on the song… I fought “nah are y’all crazy, this kid is dope “……and they kept him on the song..(Nelly’s verse was [fire emoji]. After the success of *gimme me what you got* two hustlers big Mel & Crow Came and offered me a big bag of money to sign with them!! I said sure and plus my group would love it… they said “no not the group we only want you”… I said “ well now, I appreciate it but we come as a package.” Fast forward 1999: Ma$e Manager at the time (Cudda)… was introduced to us… and he immediately started separating the group. He wanted Nelly and City Spud. They left with Cudda (went to Harlem)….. The separation became The reality… They had left!!! We (The rest of the group) felt ‘HUSTLED’…. we were *1 until, The opportunity was presented to be * ..they hustled us!! Fast forward Universal record signs Nelly: Nelly has his manager (my bf @stltluv )…. call me and he said: “Nelly said he doesn’t NEED YOU to help him write”…. So you need me to get you here, but now that you’re here ….”I don’t need you anymore”
I said ok, I’ll stay here and I won’t help him write!! Some kind of way I ended up going …I ended up helping him write… but got no credit!! Wow!! I got hustled!! ….. Now..go back and listen to the video “The ORIGINAL hustlers” …. bravo, I can’t be mad Fool me once shame on you…. Fool me twice shame on me!! You live and you learn. The Deposition.
After Ali’s IG rant, Nelly made an appearance on the What Up Doe radio show to address his former friend’s claims. Nelly said, in part:
There’s three people in this group that’s been a lunatic since day one: Nelly, Kyjuan, and City… 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… Ali started off as a manager… When they said the Lunatics did all the legwork and talent shows and all of that, that was us. He didn’t do that. When we was going around town making a name for ourselves… 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.
According to the “Country Grammar” hitmaker, the original St. Lunatics [Nelly, Kyjuan, and City Spud] were discovered by representatives of Jive Records at a talent showcase. Nelly says Ali did not officially join the group until they were offered studio time by the local D2 production company because of Jive’s interest in signing the trio.
Nelly also went into detail about Ali and the rest of the St Lunatics allegedly signing a contract, without Nelly’s knowledge, in order to get “Gimme What U Got” released. Nelly then said he refused to sign with D2 before reading the paperwork, implying Ali did not read his contract before committing to the deal.
Ali then returned to Instagram to offer a response to Nelly’s interview. He wrote:
Let me just show you the LIE. … ok this Nelly talking about the Country Grammar 20th anniversary concert. In the interview he’s saying… how he had plans on bringing the whole group back together(that’s a LIE, I begged him back in February to please bring the group back.. he said “ that isn’t what I want to do”…) Also he’s in the interview same interview he said “even bring Ali back”….. Bring Ali back?!? You’re acting like… you had options.. ,this BIG BRAH !! I have been leaving you on read !! Or hit you with the… don’t act like that !! I LEFT…. you didn’t send me off!! How can you send me this is MY GROUP …. OK let me focus, now to prove that he wasn’t going to bring the group back…. look at the date on my text message from the road manager and look at the date from the other members text from the road manager… it’s a whole two day difference.. Once I said I wasn’t coming then you had no choice but to call them !! You couldn’t do the 20th anniversary of country grammar with just you and City spud !! and plus I promised the dirty crew that I would get you and them back on stage and I knew that was the way to do it !!! Silly [rabbit emoji]!! (I don’t know why I said that last part).