Things have been better for Nelly. According to TMZ, he's staring down a $2.4 million bill from the IRS, and reportedly owes another $150,000 in state taxes. But all is not lost for the rapper, as there's a grassroots effort brewing to lend a hand to the St. Lunatic by streaming his songs as many times as possible.
Spin ran the numbers and found that the key to saving Nelly from the big bad tax man is to stream his songs 287,176,547 times:
[Spotify] recently said that the payout for artists "per stream" lands between $0.006 and $0.0084. At the bare minimum, you'll have to stream a Nelly joint 402,880,500 times to make a decent dent on his tax issues. If Nelly's lucky enough to be on the $.0084 end of the royalty spectrum, the best case scenario sees you plugging through 287,176,547 streams.
That is far too many streams for one person to come to Nelly's rescue via Spotify. But say you play the song he very good song "E.I." off Nelly's 2000 solo debut, Country Grammar, is about five minutes long. If you play that song all day every day for the next month, you could get up to about 9,000 streams. If you and about 32,000 people do the same thing, then Nelly would be well on his way to financial freedom.
In other words, it's unlikely that fans will be able to stream Nelly out of this massive tax bill. But people on Twitter are attempting to fight the good fight, and are actively promoting Nelly's cause under the #SaveNelly hashtag.
And maybe it's not completely outside the realm of possibility, given that Nelly had two good albums, one decent one, and countless karaoke-worthy singles. (My go-to is "Dilemma" even though Kelly Rowland's part is a bit outside my range). So if you love Nelly, start streaming, friend. And remember, always pay your taxes.
See photos of Nelly through the years
Nelly through the years
Nelly through the years
A US rapper Cornell Iral Haynes, Jr., famous by the name Nelly, watches the final game of Roger Federer of Switzerland and Milos Raonic of Canada at the men's singles final of the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane on January 11, 2015. AFP PHOTO / Saeed KHAN
IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - JANUARY 30: Rapper Nelly performes onstage at the Playboy Party at the W Scottsdale During Super Bowl Weekend, on January 30, 2015 in Scottsdale, AZ. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Playboy)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 30: Rapper Nelly performs onstage during the 30th annual Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show Kickoff Party at the Palms Casino Resort on March 30, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Nightclub & Bar Media Group)
FERGUSON, MO - AUGUST 18: Rapper Nelly joins demonstrators protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown as they make their voices heard on August 18, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Protesters have been vocal asking for justice in the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer on August 9th. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - JULY 12: Rapper Nelly takes part in the Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game at Busch Stadium on July 12, 2009 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 16: Rapper Nelly performs during MTV's TRL 'Total Finale Live' at the MTV studios in Times Square on November 16, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
Rapper Nelly is interviewed at the Blender Sessions during the 2007 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 22, 2007. Picture taken January 22, 2007. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES)
Actor Will Smith (R) and rapper Nelly pose at the Kids' Choice Awards in Los Angeles March 29, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES)
Rapper Cornell Haynes Jr, known as Nelly, and his girlfriend Shantel Jackson attend the Brisbane International tennis tournament final match between Switzerland's Roger Federer and Canada's Milos Raonic January 11, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Reed (AUSTRALIA - Tags: SPORT TENNIS ENTERTAINMENT)
Rap star Nelly poses at the 2003 Radio Music Awards at the Aladdin Theatre
for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 27, 2003. Nelly and
rappers P. Diddy and Murphy Lee won the Best Driving Song award for "Shake
Ya Tailfeather." PP03100121 REUTERS/Steve Marcus
Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler (L) and rapper Nelly rehearse an all-star
tribute to Run DMC DJ Jam Master Jay (Jason Mizell) before the 2002
Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas,
Nevada, December 9, 2002. Mizell was killed in Queens, New York in
October. Nelly won six awards at the show including the Artist of the
Year award. Picture taken December 9, 2002. REUTERS/Ethan Miller
Rapper "Nelly" arrives at the 44th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles,
February 27, 2002. Nelly is nominated in the Best Rap solo Performance.
Rapper Nelly (L) and singer Nelly Furtado present an award together
during the 29th annual American Music Awards in Los Angeles January 9,
2002. Furtado was nominated for Favorite New Artist, won by Alicia
Keys, Nelly won for Favorite Hop Hop Artist. REUTERS/ Mike Blake
Rapper Nelly (L) and "N Sync" member Justin Timberlake (R) perform
Marvin Gaye's song "What's Going On" during the finale of the 2001
Billboard Music Awards, in Las Vegas December 4, 2001. "N Sync" won a
special award for biggest one-week sales of an album in 2001 for
"Celebrity." REUTERS/Ethan Miller-Las Vegas Sun
ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 07: Rapper Nelly performs onstage at Honda Center on September 7, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - JANUARY 02: Rapper Nelly performs prior to the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Busch Stadium on January 2, 2017 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 06: Rappers Nelly (L) and City Spud of St. Lunatics perform at Drai's Beach Club - Nightclub at The Cromwell Las Vegas on November 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 06: Rapper Nelly (L) and singer Kelly Rowland arrive at Drai's Beach Club - Nightclub at The Cromwell Las Vegas on November 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)
Rap artist Nelly poses backstage after the 2000 Radio Music Awards at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, 11/04/00. (Photo by Kevin Winter/ABC/ImageDirect)
JaRule(on left) and Nelly backstage during the launch party for Sprite.com at the Roseland Ballroom in New York. (11/9/00) Photo: Scott Gries/ImageDirect
MONACO - MAY 02: The Monaco World Music Awards in Monaco City, Monaco on May 02, 2001 - Nelly. (Photo by Pool BENAINOUS/SCORCELLETTI/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Rapper Nelly with video director Benny Boom on the Universal Studios set during the filming of the video for the single 'Dilemma.' (Photo by Markus Cuff/Corbis via Getty Images)
BURBANK, CA - JUNE 25: Rapper Nelly performs on 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' at the NBC Studios on June 25, 2003 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)