N.E.R.D. in Vancouver: HipHopCanada talks to Pharrell [Interview/Video]
Vancouver, B.C. – N.E.R.D. may have been one of the first truly successful crossovers of this artistic generation: when In Search Of… dropped in 2001, The Neptunes – Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo – were mostly known for their stunningly synth hip-hop beats. The debut N.E.R.D. album, then, which featured a punk vibe, rock beats and the gritty, intriguing falsettos of a young Pharrell, changed up who a “hip-hop” audience was.
Even the use of Terry Richardson, now-renowned hipster god photographer, to shoot that first album cover was a statement in itself: instead of a couple of thugs in an alley, the cover featured N.E.R.D. member Shay on the couch playing video games. Art was changing, and Pharrell and his crew were on the cusp.
These days, and several albums later, N.E.R.D. are again on the move. The new album Nothing – this time with a Richardson-shot Pharrell on the cover in army helmet and feathers – isn’t particularly revolutionary but does maintain that balance of fun and serious, sexy and revolting, new and old. The single “Hypnotize U” features repetitions of Pharrell’s whispered “touch it, girl,” and the reminder that “if I’m not beside you, I’m inside you.” The video has Pharrell walking around naked while girls clad in cotton briefs lie comatose.
Not quite sure to make of that one yet, but luckily Pharrell provides some answers in HipHopCanada’s exclusive interview with the superstar. He also dishes on some new sounds, his admiration of Terry Richardson, and how everyone has a mother.