Precious Metals

Nelly's last album, "SweatSuit," hit shelves four years ago, but his absence hasn't dampened his branding opportunities.

Nelly's last album, "SweatSuit," hit shelves four years ago, but his absence hasn't dampened his branding opportunities. Indeed, the promotion schedule for the rapper's oft-delayed "Brass Knuckles," due this week via Derrty/Universal Motown, is packed with high-profile appearances and brand relationships.

Thanks to alliances with "Monday Night Football" and a collaboration with Nike's Jordan brand, few in the Nelly camp are concerned that two recent singles, "Wadsyaname" and "Party People," haven't cracked the top 20 on either the Billboard Hot 100 or the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

"Brass Knuckles" draws on Nelly's history of catchy hooks. "Body on Me" plays on his past relationship with R&B singer Ashanti, who's featured on the track, while "Party People" touches on the anthemic joints he popularized with "Hot in Herre." The rapper says "One and Only" or "Long Night" featuring Usher are in contention for the next single.

"I'm not worried about my sales because you can't keep dropping No. 1 songs," Nelly says. "Would I love to have a No. 1? Yes, because plenty of people have come out and sold nothing. But hopefully the fan base that I've built will support me."