M.O.

Nelly's seventh album opens strong with a brilliantly chill Nicki Minaj cameo on a gloriously narcotic Pharrell track ("Get Like Me") and a characteristically romantic turn from Future ("Give U Dat"), but wraps weakly with a jangly jam featuring country duo Florida Georgia Line and a cheesy ballad with Nelly Furtado. Nelly the rapper can still pull big guests but isn't sure whether to shout, whisper or sing to get our attention. He tries airy pop-hop on "Heaven" and calls in T.I. to rap around a 10-year-old Dave Chappelle joke on "Rick James." He'd have been better off making "I'm rich, bitch!" jokes around the time of "Hot in Herre."

From The Archives Issue 1194: October 24, 2013