By David Browne
Updated September 13, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
Nelly: Suzan/

Tellingly, Nelly sounds convincing and appealing on Suit, which opens with the summer-breezy, Neptunes-produced ”Play It Off” and rarely lets up. On Sweat, Nelly is in aggressive pursuit of women, but here, he goes gentler in tracks like ”Paradise” and his retelling of his daughter’s birth, ”Die for You.” His leave-no-listener-behind side shines through in the cozy hip-hop soul of ”In My Life” and the rapturous sandal-fetish ode ”Pretty Toes.” In an audacious move, he recruits none other than Tim McGraw to interject bleary refrains on the breakup ballad ”Over and Over.” Even if it doesn’t convert a single country lover to his cause, it’s the clearest sign yet that Nelly’s aspirations go far beyond getting over a severed relationship.