St. Louis, Mo., native Nelly and his group, the St. Lunatics, were honored yesterday (Feb. 5) by officials in the state's Jefferson City capitol for their promise to play basketball with high schools

St. Louis, Mo., native Nelly and his group, the St. Lunatics, were honored yesterday (Feb. 5) by officials in the state's Jefferson City capitol for their promise to play basketball with high schools that showed increased participation in standardized state tests. But, while Gov. Bob Holden and members of the Missouri House praised the rapper and the St. Lunatics, some questioned whether the state should praise a group that sings about illegal drug use and sexual promiscuity.

Rep. Charles Portwood (R-Ballwin) found copies of Nelly's lyrics on the Internet -- which included profanity and graphic sexual references -- and carried them around to show people, hundreds of which gathered for the lunchtime event.

"Here we are honoring a man for his contribution to the education of our kids, but if you read his lyrics he is talking about promiscuous sex, crystal meth, snorting cocaine. These are the kinds of things you want your kids to hear?" Portwood said. "If it demeans our society, it's wrong."

Nelly, whose given name is Cornell Haynes Jr., shrugged off criticism. "Hip-hop has run into a lot of resistance, period," he said. "We are the voice of the youth. Any time you are the voice of the youth, you run into resistance."

As reported yesterday, Nelly join 'N Sync Feb. 27 for a performance of the boy band's "Girlfriend" during the 44th annual Grammy Awards ceremony. The rapper is nominated in two categories: best rap solo performance category for his track "Ride Wit Me," and best rap/sung collaboration for "Where the Party At" with Jagged Edge.


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