Nelly says that reports he’s working on a country EP are inaccurate.

“It’s not actually country, so to speak,” the St. Louis rapper says during an interview with Rolling Stone. “I love country music. I respect country music so much that I would never think that I can sit down and just as easy do a country album. That’s not it. That’s just like some country artist saying, ‘Hell, I’m just gonna do a rap album.’ What I will say is that, I’m tryna come up with an idea of doing an EP that crosses all boundaries, all genres and it may feature different country artists. But if you look at country music now it’s broadened up so much.”

Nelly adds that his goal with the project is “coming up with different songs and different music in a field that I think may appeal to more of a pop-country, pop-R&B, hip-hop, country hip-hop [laughs] type of vibe. But never a ‘country album,’ not like that. I respect country music to the utmost, I never think it’s just that easy. Never.”

As Nelly works on new music, he’s also involved with a school in his hometown that teaches kids how to mix, produce and engineer, as well as business fundamentals. 

“We are actually certified by the State of Missouri so we give out credits and everything,” Nelly says of EI, Ex’treme Institute. “We deal with a lot of at-risk youth and things and things of that nature, too. So it’s been a great thing for my city.”

While he’s not involved with EI on a day-to-day basis, Nelly says he is active with the institution.

“I come in a few times in a year,” he says. “I bring some of my artist friends down. T.I.‘s came down. He’s talked to the kids. I’m definitely the one that gives away the diplomas at graduation, though.”

As he works on helping teach students, Nelly feels as though rappers have been studying his style.

“I was kinda the only one doing what I was doing, now the whole fucking game is singing,” he says. “The whole game is melodic now, and I was the only one doing it. You know? I was the first one to sing his own hook, rap his own verses and sing his own bridge. And continuously doing that because my influences, such as Bone Thugs, Goodie Mob, Cee-Lo Green and Arrested Development, you’re listening to ’em and trying to find your own niche and then when you come with it but you come with it in a way that’s so surprising to people. People don’t understand that, shit, the whole game is doing Nelly.”

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