Sunday, February 22, 2009



Pharrell Williams was born on April 5Th, 1973. He was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia to father Pharoah Williams, a handyman, and Carolyn, a teacher. Pharrell is the eldest of three sons. He is a music producer, singer-songwriter and rapper. He, along with Chad Hugo are the duo that make up the Neptunes. It is with the Chad that they produce Hip-Hop, Pop, and R&B records.

Williams met Chad Hugo in a seventh grade summer band camp where Williams played the Keyboard and drums and Hugo played tenor saxophone. They were also both members of a marching Band, where Pharrell played the snare drum, and with Chad as a student conductor. In the 1990s, Hugo and Pharrell formed a 4-piece "R&B type" group along with friends Shay Haley and Mike Etheridge, which they named 'The Neptunes'. They later entered a high school talent show where they were discovered by Teddy Riley, whose studio is next to Pharrell's school, Princess Anne High School. After graduating from high school, they signed with Riley as a group.

Through working with Teddy Riley, Pharrell went on to write a verse for Wreckx-N-Effect's 1992 hit "Rump Shaker" (number two Billboard Hot 100, 2x Platinum). That same year, he also performed a small rap solo on SWV's second hit, "Right Here (Human Nature Remix)". In 1994, Hugo and Williams had established themselves formally as a production duo under the previously used name "The Neptunes", and produced "Tonight's The Night" from Blackstreet's self-titled debut album. Over the next three years they continued to produce occasionally. Some of the production had little resemblance to the trademark Neptunes sound present today. However, some like Mase's 1997 song "Lookin' At Me" from his album 'Harlem World', and the most definite beginning of the so-called distinctive "Neptunes sound", came with N.O.R.E.'s "Superthug" in 1998, reaching number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100, and gaining them widespread attention for the first time. In 1999, the duo then worked heavily with Kelis, producing her first album Kaleidoscope in its entirety and Ol' Dirty Bastard's 'Nigga Please', followed by Mystikal's hit single, "Shake Ya Ass".

^Mr. Billionaire Boy Himself^

In 2001, The Neptunes produced Britney Spears' single, "I'm a Slave "I'm a Slave 4 U" gaining their first world-wide number one single. The same year, Pharrell, Hugo and Haley released their first album as N.E.R.D - In Search Of... - in Europe, where the first Kelis album was better received. The album sounded very much like their previous production work; the group decided that they should make their work as N.E.R.D sound different, and re-recorded the album, with the funk-rock band Spymob. The Neptunes also signed Clipse, a rap duo from Virginia Beach that Pharrell had met back in 1993, to Arista Records through his recently established Star Trak Entertainment imprint.

Then in 2002 their re-produced album was released worldwide, and The Neptunes reached number one in the U.S. with Nelly's single, "Hot in Herre". In August of the same year, The Neptunes were named "Producers of the Year" at both The Source Awards and the Billboard Music Awards. Clipse released their commercial debut album, Lord Willin' on August 20, 2002. The album opened at number one on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-hop Album chart and number four on the Billboard Hot 200, fueled by the strength of its first two singles, "Grindin" and "When the Last Time" (Video=DOPE! shorty with the big forehead OMG! lol), which peaked at number 34 and number 19 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Neptunes released a self-credited album called The Neptunes Presents... Clones in 2003, featuring songs and remixes from various artists. This album topped the U.S. Billboard 200 Albums Chart. The Neptunes and Pharrell specifically were also kept in public eye largely due to ties with Jay-Z, producing several hit singles for him and landing two tracks on his album The Black Album. The track "Frontin'" was a big hit (the 34Th biggest single of 2003 according to Billboard Magazine and lets not forget Lauren London's beautiful self being featured in the video.) A survey in August 2003 found the Neptunes produced almost 20 percent of songs played on British radio at the time, a survey in the US had them at 43 percent. The same year, The Neptunes remixed the Daft punk song Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger for the duo's poorly-received remix album Daft Club. The track also featured a brief rap section performed by Pharrell.

N.E.R.D's second Funk-Rock-oriented album, Fly or Die, released in March 2004. Williams' rock credentials were further bolstered by his appearance at the 2004 Grammy Awards, performing The Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There" on drums along with Sting, Dave Matthews and Vince Gill. Pharrell went home with two Grammy Awards that night, one for Producer of the year, Non-Classical, and another for Best Pop Vocal Album for his work on Justin Timberlake's Hit Album Justified. They also gained their first UK number one, again with Nelly, and Flap your Wings.

On September 9, 2005, Pharrell performed the opening single from his debut solo album On My Mind, (GO PICK THAT UP!) "Can I have it Like That", featuring Gwen Stefani. (I Adore Her) The single did poorly in the US, reaching only number 48. It fared better in the UK, reaching number three. Between then and the July 25, 2006 release of "In My Mind", he released "Angel" (The song that you are most likely hearing playing on the Blog right now) and later "Number One" with Kanye West. "That Girl" featuring Snoop Dogg was the final single.

In 2006, Pharrell solely produced The Clipse's second album Hell Hath No Fury. Most critics labeled the album to be Pharrell's best production in years, and put the Virginia rap duo back in the charts.

On May 16, 2007, for seven days only, the first of two expected collaborations with Madonna entitled "Hey You", was made available for free download from the MSN website. MSN, in conjunction with Madonna, donated 25 cents for each of the first 1 million downloads to the Alliance for Climate Protection, in support of Live Earth. Later that year, Pharrell performed songs at the Concert for Diana on July 1, 2007. Then, on July 7 2007, he performed at the Brazilian leg of Live Earth in Rio DE Janiero.

A second album, entitled Out of My Mind, was recorded with his newly formed band "The Yessirs" featuring Questlove of The Roots. However, Pharrell's record label did not think that a companion album to the first would sell well. He also produced Beyonce's rendition of "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend". He then wrote and produced "Why Should I Be Sad" on Britney Spears' fifth studio album, Blackout. He also produced two songs from The Hives album, The Black and White Album, titled "Well All Right!" and "T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S.".

In April 2008, Madonna released her eleventh album, Hard Candy, which featured vocals from Pharrell and production from The Neptunes on several tracks. Later in June, an article in NME revealed that Pharrell is very interested in producing The Strokes' fourth album. Also in 2008, Pharrell collaborated with Louis Vuitton to create a series of jewelry under 4 different themes.

Williams, along with other notable musicians, is to work on a remix album for Maroon 5's Call & Response.

Personal Thoughts:

I knew I was a Pharrell Fan when I heard Superthug for the first time. This was during a time in Hip-Hop where the beat and the producer over shadowed the artist on the track. But lets be honest, Its not that hard to over shadow N.O.R.E bumass. lol But regardless I've always been a fan of music in its entirty. Neptunes created a sound that became the new standard in Music. Pharrell being the frontman of the duo became one of my favorites, his style, his attitude and his child-like nature made him someone I could in some way relate to. His Album "In My Mind" in my opinion was dope and it was just one in the many that he had produced. I admire how he has gone beyong the typical Hip-Hop projects and has taken on jobs working with Pop Artist such as Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. His work with the Clipse has been stunning thusfar and I've since and always will be a fan. Shout outs to Mr. Billionaire Club Muchacho.

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