Friday, 26 March 2010

2002 Nelly and Kelly: Dilemma

Not a children's television spin off single featuring two talking glove puppets, but an R&B/hip hop duet between Cornell Iral Haynes Jr (Nelly) and Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child (who were currently on hiatus). What's the 'dilemma'? Well Kelly has just moved into Nelly's 'hood ("I met this chick and she just moved right up the block from me") and she's wasted no time in giving him the eye ("she got the hots for me, the finest thing my hood did see"). But "oh no, oh no, she gotta a man and a son, doh'ohhh", but that's ok because Nelly's going to "wait for my cue and just listen, play my position. Like a shortstop, pick up e'rything mami hittin. And in no time I plan to make this wah-one mi-i-ne and that's for sure".* Nothing like a bit of self confidence I suppose, but to show he's not a total heel he confides "I never been the type to break up a happy home", even though at heart he's just a red blooded male and a slave to his hormones ("There's somethin bout baby girl I just can't leave alone"). Kelly herself loves the attention and practically waves her knickers at him with a "No matter what I do, all I think about is you. Even when I'm with my boo, boy you know I'm crazy over you" belted out shamelessly loud enough for all the neighbours to hear (Nelly at least has the decency to mumble his lines into his collar) - and the hussy's only just moved in too!

Morally ambiguous to the core, 'Dilemma' would have sat better with a side order of self aware humour (those lyrics border on parody in themselves in any case), but from the moody 'man with things on his mind' cover art in, both protagonists play out their parts with the earnest sincerity of Greek tragedy over a nothing we haven't heard before sparse and scratchy, low key hip hop beat, punctuated by the duo's coos, caws and groans in a way that dares you to smile. Or breathe even - 'Dilemma' is a tightly wound emotional vacuum of a song that aims for the meaningful but ends up falling flat through a generic coldness that elicits no sympathy for Nelly's sociopathic tendencies or Kelly's fly by night commitment issues; far from agonising over the ethics of their 'dilemma' I'd say these two should hook up right away, they deserve each other. And how does it all end? No one here is saying, but for my money it ends by saying 'Dilemma' is just too damn worthy for my palate and, given the choice of sitting through it again or giving 'The Ketchup Song' another spin, then I know what I would do. No dilemma there at all.

* Lyrics as cut and pasted from a website. Sorry.


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