Shake, shake it, baby… Nelly is putting it down for Californ-i-a!
During Dancing With the Stars‘ Icons Night on Monday, the 46-year-old rapper and his pro partner, Daniella Karagach, paid tribute to Tupac Shakur by performing a jazz to the late legend’s classic hit, “California Love.” Nelly wore a leather top, black pants and white bandana, while Daniella complemented his look in a sporty two-piece and beige jacket.
“He was multi-talented,” Nelly said of his adoration for 2Pac in a video that played before the performance. “We all come with luggage, the good and the bad, but the passion behind his songwriting and ability to touch other people has inspired me.”
“I’m actually re-doing my version of the song,” Nelly added, as cameras showed him in the studio working on the track. “The fact that I had a chance to re-do such a great song by such a great person, and the fact that I got the chance to display that on national TV was dope to me.”
Judge Derek Hough said, “There was so much going on … it was celebratory and a joy to watch,” while Carrie Ann Inaba raved, “I like watching your journey more and more each week.”
“You were cool, confident and in your element,” added Bruno Tonioli.
#TeamDaNelly received 8s across the board for a total score of 24/30 for the performance.
Hours ahead of showtime, Nelly took to Instagram to give fans a sneak peek look at yet another pair of custom DWTS shoes, which were created by Dominic Ciambrone aka “The Shoe Surgeon.” The rapper revealed that even Daniella would be sporting a custom pair this time around!
“Yo, check it out. This week we’ve got something special. Two times the funk,” Nelly said in the video, encouraging his fans to vote for #TeamDaNelly in the caption. “It’s goin’ down, Icons Night. Foot work!”
“#TeamDaNelly IS GONNA SHAKE IT BABY!!!” Daniella added in her own post. “Make sure you tune in!!!!!”
Speaking with ET earlier this season, Nelly opened up about everything from his personalized ballroom to gear to how his DWTS alter ego, “Yung Swivel,” came to be.
“Nelly is not here right now, it’s officially Yung Swivel,” he joked at the time. “It’s just a little joke, something that I think encourages me to loosen my hips a little more, ’cause I continue to be a little stiff.”
“He is not stiff!” added Daniella, whom Nelly nicknamed “Mutha Russia” due to her strict teaching skills. “He is far from stiff.”
Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Hear more from the dancing duo in the video below.
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