Rapper Nelly was born Cornell Haynes, Jr. in Austin, Texas, on November 2, 1974, to Cornell Haynes, Sr. and Rhonda Mack. Shortly after he was born, he followed his parents moved to Spain until he was three, because his father was in the U.S. Air Force. He moved back to states and got his education in St. Louis, Missouri. There he found himself moving in with relative to relative since his parents split, which happened when he was 8 years old, because of financial problems. Grew up in a broken-home family, young Nelly admitted to get used into a lot of fights and troubles, because of which in 1993 he left his gritty St. Louis neighborhood and settled in the suburban area of University City. There, by the time he started high school, Nelly shifted his attention to playing baseball, storytelling, and writing rhymes that helped keep him out of trouble.
Up to that point, this would-be famous rapper showed great promise as a professional baseball player, but as a child he listened to artists such as Rahiem, LL Cool J, Run DMC, OutKast, and Goodie Mob and he too wished he could become a rap star.