Pharrell Williams' reach seems to extend in every direction. To say she's an icon of hip-hop, pop, art, fashion and film is an understatement. There is no one like him. When she's not collaborating with Chanel, making blockbuster films or posting thousands of memes with Vivienne Westwood hats, she's an in-demand producer for the biggest musical acts. .
After spending the early years of his career creating hits for other artists, Pharrell and his bandmates The Neptunes began directing full projects. Pharrell has further pushed the boundaries of his success by collaborating with streetwear brands Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream. And as if all that weren't enough, he achieved unprecedented success a few years later with one of the biggest collaborations of the decade.
Listen to the best of Pharrell Williams on Apple Music and Spotify.
Teddy Riley's protégé
Pharrell's career began long before he appeared with N*E*R*D. New Jack Swing pioneer Pharrell and his Neptune duo Chad Hugo "discovered" Teddy Riley in Virginia Beach. Riley took the pair under his wing and they became teammates at Teddy Riley's production school. Pharrell in 2010 On Wreckx-N-Effect's 1992 hit Rump Shaker, Riley received one of the producing credits, writing lyrics and contributing production. Since then, Pharrell has added his spin to many of Riley's biggest productions, including SSBV's "Right Here" (it's Human Nature's radio mix that crowns it) and Blackstreet's "Tonight's The Night."
Full of cunning
Pharrell's career has been filled with intrigue from the start. N*E*R*D's debut album Searching for… was an influential genre classic. However, there are two different versions of the album: one with electronic production and the other with a full rap-rock sound. For naysayers and auxiliaries (Tyler, creator among them), the ball had dropped: Both were needed to unleash Pharrell's genius. By the time of the album's release, Pharrell and The Neptunes had helped build the careers of other future legends, including the Kellys and the Clips.
At the turn of the new millennium, Pharrell reportedly worked with Scarface, Noriega and Britney Spears. He continues his relationship with the other Titans. While Jay-Z was recording his retirement album , The Black Album , he asked The Neptunes to produce his first single, featuring classic vocals from Pharrell. The producing duo would help launch the Dirty South sound of Nelly's infectious "Hot In Here", one of hip-hop's biggest albums of the early 2000s. Summer Jam hit No. 1 and the Neptunes became the team of most popular production.
Fly or die beater
While N*E*R*D's second album Fly Or Die was well received by critics and fans alike, the band's singles never surpassed their efforts with other artists. That didn't stop 2004 from being Neptune's biggest year yet.
That means more exposure for Pharrell, whose producer Chad Hugo has always kept a low profile. A few months after Fly or Die, Gwen Stefani found her creative inspiration in Pharrell and released her first solo album, Love.Angel.Music.Baby . After experiencing writer's block during the recording process, the former No Doubt singer heard material from Pharrell's solo album and was inspired to create something more appealing. single no. 1 that Stefani and Pharrell co-wrote "Hollaback Girl" was a hit for both of them, and Gwen made sure it went nowhere.
Not even Snoop Dogg. 10 years after the release of his debut album Doggystyle , Snoop is a veteran. Many rappers get fired after a decade, but that's not the case with Snoop. Maybe because of her big personality but she got a lot of support from Pharrell. R&G Snoop (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece album contains four songs produced by The Neptunes. Among them was "Drop It Like Hot", Snoop's first single in 12 years in the game.
Like "Hollaback Girl," "Drop It Like It's Hot" became a cultural staple and another spot on Pharrell's championship belt. The song would become Pharrell's biggest hit in a decade, despite his steady rise.
Go by yourself
In 2005, Pharrell released his first solo album , On My Mind . He's been teasing the album for years, and even released an earlier mixtape called In My Mind: Prequel a few months ago, which didn't have the same impact as Pharrell's solo effort with the Neptunes-produced single. King creator
Over the years, however, the album would develop a cult following and be perhaps more influential than even diehard fans could imagine. Pharrell superfan Tyler the Creator has not only proclaimed himself as Pharrell's successor (if there is one), but has extended Pharrell's influence into his own work.
Over the next few years, Pharrell and The Neptunes worked with everyone under the sun: Kings of Leon, Lupe Fiasco, Beyoncé, 50 Cent and Gorillaz. When studying the history of 20th-century pop music, it's nearly impossible to explore a wide range of influences. At the time, Pharrell didn't have the cultural baggage he had in the early 2000s, but he was quietly continuing to shape the future of pop, hip-hop, R&B and everything in between.
Steal the show
Then in 2013, after creating more music in less than two decades than most artists do in a lifetime, Pharrell, the man pushing the buttons behind the scenes, moved to the fore thanks to a trio of professional profiles.
Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" isn't a comeback single for the French electro-pop duo, but it's a cultural phenomenon that spans generations. It would never have been possible without his talents, including that of Nile Rodgers and the smooth voice and production skills of Pharrell. Next up was "Blurred Lines" with T.I. and Robin Thicke. Pop culture has a very unique nostalgia and the sound of "Blurred Lines" was the perfect follow-up to Pharrell's collaboration with Daft Punk.
With a wave of dirt behind him, Pharrell finally took his hit with a terrific "Happy." The Ubiquitous Earworm became the biggest hit of 2014 and earned Williams his first piece: an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.
Always shape the future
It's safe to say that Pharrell is one of the few people for whom the godfather of hip-hop can buy stylish minions. In 2013, he didn't slow down on his hat-trick and celebrated in style wearing a giant hat for the year ahead.
From mentoring up-and-coming singers to designing collections for Chanel and Adidas, Pharrell continues to help shape the careers of some of the greatest musicians on the planet. You won't get Ariana Grande's culture-changing dessert or Beck's retro-futuristic creation of 2019, Hyperspace . The former helped Grande become a major pop figure; The latter took Beck in a whole new direction. For Farrell, after decades as creative director, things were business as usual.
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