In September 2020, Nelly earned a whole new legion of fans when he was announced as one of the cast members of the hit ABC reality competition series, “Dancing with the Stars.” But while many people believed that the rapper born Cornell Haynes Jr. in St. Louis was merely “washed up” and trying to become relevant again, the fact is, he was never irrelevant in the first place.

As it turns out, the actor, rapper, and philanthropist is also quite the shrewd businessman, as well. So much so, in fact, that he’s earned an estimated $8 million net worth, according to Celebrity Net Worth. But how did he do it?

Simply put, Nelly made a series of wise business moves that involved diversifying his business investments. He’s invested in everything from sports teams to fashion, all while still releasing new music for his devoted fan base. Even the music switched up over a period of time: though initially starting out with rap music, he eventually transitioned into a more country and western feel, and recorded hits with the likes of Tim McGraw to show his newfound musical evolution.

Let’s take a look at how Nelly has remained relevant, even in these ever-changing times.

Editorial note: The net worth listed in this piece is a speculative estimate drawn from a variety of online sources.


Photo Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez

To date, Nelly’s “Country Grammar” is both his best-selling and best-known album. It’s sold over 8 million copies in the United States. Since that time, he’s gone on to release several chart-topping singles and albums, which have been certified multiple platinum with each release.

Sponsorships & Endorsements

Photo Credit: Eric McCandless

Thanks to his recent surge in popularity on account of “Dancing with the Stars,” Nelly has earned sponsorship deals with Burger King and Doritos. But that’s just the latest in a series of sponsorships and endorsements that came from a variety of companies including Ford Motor Company and the “Got Milk” advertisement campaign.

Real Estate

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According to Celebrity Net Worth, Nelly sold his ranch in Eureka, MO, for more than $740,000 back in June 2010. The house was originally featured on MTV Cribs back in 2002.

In February 2021, TMZ reported that Nelly’s abandoned St. Louis mansion had also hit the market for only $600,000.

“The 6-bedroom, 7-bathroom crib sits on nearly 12 acres of land with vast outdoor recreation space,” reported the outlet.

Initially, when Nelly purchased the property in 2002, he intended to work with a contractor to fix up the property and flip it. But because it never panned out, it’s been sitting empty and in decay for years.


Photo Credit: Rick Diamond

In addition to starting 4Sho4Kids Foundation and Jes Us 4 Jackie (which encourages Black men and women to get tested for bone marrow matches, and was founded after Nelly’s sister, Jackie, was diagnosed with leukemia), Nelly supports’s “Tackle Hunger” campaign.

“We try to feed as many hungry kids in this country as possible. I know we do a lot to help people outside this country, but we have so many kids inside this country that need our help as well,” he said to Billboard about his participation with Tackle Hunger.

Other Business Ventures

Photo Credit: Robin Marchant

Over the years, Nelly has gotten involved in a variety of business ventures. Beginning in 2003, he began endorsing an updated version of the Charles Barkley sneaker, which then led to an endorsement deal from Reebok, according to MTV News.

In 2010, Nelly founded the Apple Bottoms jeans company.

The same year that he founded the Apple Bottoms jeans company, he sold his shares of the Charlotte Bobcats to Michael Jordan. He initially became part-owner of the team back in 2004, according to a press release.

In 2015, he teamed up with Mike & Ike to relaunch the candy brand, Black Enterprise reports.