This hedonistic party jam from Nelly's debut album finds him rapping about his glitzy lifestyle. Along for the ride, we hear about him smoking pot in his Mercedes, picking up a lovely lady at the club, and flying first class next to Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White.
Nelly tells his rags-to-riches story in this song, recounting his rise from a teenage drug dealer to rap star. He's still the same person, but now he has the means to enjoy the finer things in life.
A big hook in this song is the "Hey! Must be the money!" group vocal after Nelly asks, "Oh, why do I live this way?" Nelly owes a debt to the football star Deion Sanders, who in 1994 released a song called "Must Be The Money"
that helped popularize the phrase. (Sanders' musical talents are inversely proportional to his football abilities.)
In later years, many pop songs featured groups of guys yelling "hey!" as part of the soundscape. A good example is "Fancy
" by Iggy Azalea.
City Spud (real name: Lavell Webb), Nelly's brother and a member of his St. Lunatics crew, raps the third verse. In 1999, before the album was released, he went to jail, where he served eight years for armed robbery. Nelly, who felt Spud was innocent, took to wearing a Band-Aid on his cheek in honor of Spud.
The "I like the way you brush your hair" section is lifted from the 1982 DeBarge song "I Like It," where they sing:I like the way you comb your hair
I like those stylish clothes you wear
This earned that song's writers, Randy, Bunny and El DeBarge, writing credits on "Ride Wit Me." Wreckx-N-Effect borrowed this same "I Like It" on their 1992 hit "Rump Shaker
Along with the DeBarge clan, Nelly and City Spud are the credited writers on this song along with the track's producer, Jay Eperson.
In the video, directed by Marc Klasfeld, members of the St. Lunatics enter a cowboy bar to find an older white woman singing a treacherous rendition of this song. They summon Nelly, who is somewhere in the desert lounging in a hammock, and he brings a convoy to the town to show them how it's done. The video is an homage to '70s trucker films like Smokey and the Bandit.
At the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, this won for Best Rap Video.
Nelly takes a shot at his former classmates at Florissant Missouri Community College in St. Louis in the bridge:
You won't believe how many people straight down at the Flo-Mo
Said that I was a failure
But now the same motherf--kers asking me for dough
And I'm yelling, "I can't help ya"
Nelly took some business classes at the school before launching his music career.
Nelly took a lot of liberties with the spelling of his song titles, which goes along with the "country grammar" theme of the album. That's why it's "Ride Wit Me." Other tracks on the album include "Utha Side" and "Tho Dem Wrappas."