Spirit Indestructible is essentially an attempt to blend the two, and the results are surprisingly seamless. In fact, one of its few missteps is early single 'Big Hoops (The Bigger The Better)'; a fun but ultimately soulless number about switching on the swagger that feels like a dated and misjudged attempt at placing her alongside today's Rihannas and Minajs.
She sounds infinitely more comfortable on the earthy, Darkchild-helmed title track 'Spirit Indestructible' and future single 'Parking Lot', where the hypnotic, propelling melody of horns and synths will no doubt draw comparisons to MIA for its off-kilter vocals and bratty attitude as she sheepishly remarks: "Bring your car to the parking lot and ride all night 'til you get a spot."
The album's big collaboration and highlight comes in the form of towering hip-hop ballad 'Something' with Nas, while 'Waiting For The Night features the best use of an accordion in pop music since The Wanted's 'Glad You Came'. When she's not trying to compete with her contemporaries ('High Life' and 'Miracles' sound suspiciously Madonna-esque), Nelly's enduring spark proves more infectious than ever.
Tracks to download: 'Spirit Indestructible', 'Say Something', 'Parking Lot', 'Waiting For The Night'
If you like this, you'll like: Rihanna, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez
Listen to Spirit Indestructible below: