Last night during a concert at New York City’s Nokia Theater, Pharrell Williams expressed his support for Barack Obama by tossing a jab at the Republican party’s Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. When the crowd at the N¤E¤R¤D/Big Boi concert erupted into an “Obama” chant last night, the N¤E¤R¤D front man took the opportunity to get political. “So I guess I don’t have to ask. So we feel the same way,” said Pharrell. “We’re gonna do what we gotta do to make sure that the person that goes after Obama is not holding a baby in one hand and a soccer ball in the other. Ok Cool.” “But she’s a hot MILF though, isn’t she?” he added.
Common was this Sunday on KUBE 93’s Sunday Night Sound Session to talk about his upcoming “Universal Mind Control” album, his creative process working with the Neptunes: “I wanted to do something fresh, so I bumped in to Pharrell, we were talking about making some music.. I really was like wanted to work with The Neptunes as a whole not just make one song with them, I wanted to create an Album with them and that’s really what we’ve focused on, I started making this album because I was supposed to be shooting The Justice League Movie and I play this superhero Green Lantern who has the power to Control Minds “Universal Mind Control”, at the time there was this Writer Strike and everything was on hold so I started doing an album.. The music was so coming naturally and Chad was adding so much then Mr. DJ came along. I felt like the album didn’t have to have Kanye or anybody else, We created the sound what we wanted which is something new sounding and had the foundation of hip hop. “A lot of times Pharrell can come in the studio with ideas about what direction he wants to go and would start creating some music and chad might come in and add some layers to it” Thanks To Neosoul
Check out this funny interview by Blackfile talking about the new album Seeing Sounds & the track that didn’t make the album “Out Of My Head” and how Timbaland pushed Pharrell to do more then one record for Madonna. “Timbaland was pushing me, he was like ‘I like that one song you did’ and I was like yeah? And he was like ‘u gotta hear the album I did almost the whole thing’ and I was like Yeah?! Then Madonna kept teasing like ‘Tim Got More Sooongs Then You, Tim Got More Songs Then You’ and I was like.. Okay u aint gonna like me when I start turning green.. ”
N¤E¤R¤D’s Blackfile Interview
Robin Thicke is heading to the UK to embark on his first UK tour next month following the headlining sell out gig at London’s KoKo last year. The Soulful, R&B superstar will be gracing our shores once again, playing in London, Manchester, Birmingham as he releases first single ‘Magic’ taken from his soon-to-be-released third solo album ‘Something Else’. Catch him while you can!
25 October – Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
28 October – Manchester Academy
29 October – Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham
To win one of THREE pairs of tickets for Shepard’s Bush Empire all you have to so is answer this simple question;
What is the name of Robin Thicke’s first single from the album, Something Else?
A – Magic
B – Voodoo
C – Enchantment
Please send your answers via email (subject: Comp – Robin Thicke) to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your FULL contact details before 6 October 2008.
Remember if you don’t win, tickets are on sale now, available from aeglive.co.uk
and the 24-Hour hotline: 0871 230 4422
Please note that tickets purchased from the cancelled December 2007 gigs will be valid for these gigs.
With CD sales plunging each year, noone can doubt the record labels commitment to restoring themselves back to their glory days. On which note, they have announced a brand new music format known as SlotMusic. The format, which surprisingly is not spelt using an ‘x’, ‘z’ or backwards lettering is essentially an entire album on a MicroSD flash memory card. The card, which is the standard among mobile phone memory card slots will enable consumers to load the album onto their mobiles immediately. The card will also come with a USB sleeve so it can be plugged in directly to any computer with a USB slot. Interestingly, the format will be loaded with songs unrestricted by digital rights management software (DRM) in the standard MP3 format.
The major four record labels are all backing the format and Wal-Mart and Best Buy have likewise signed up as distributors of the new format which is expected to hit the shops in time for the Christmas holidays. Unnamed sources close to the labels state that 29 albums are expected to comprise the first batch of releases. Rihanna, Ne-Yo, Robin Thicke, New Kids On The Block, Weezer, Usher, Chris Brown, Akon, Leona Lewis and Elvis Presley are names being bandied around for that initial batch. It is estimated that SlotMusic will retail for between $7 and $10.
Pharrell will be featuring in an advertisement for technology giant Microsoft. The Grammy Award winner joins a cast of celebrities in a new $300 million dollar advertising campaign by Microsoft – replacing comedian Jerry Seinfeld and company founder Bill Gates. After less than two weeks on the air, the company is pulling the Seinfeld ads, in favor of a new campaign featuring Pharrell Williams, Deepak Chopra and stunner Eva Longoria. A Microsoft spokesman said the new ad campaign was “completely in accordance” with the company’s plans and denied that the advertisement change was made for any other reason. This is not the first time Microsoft have used Pharrell, he was used to launch the game Halo 3 in the UK.
N¤E¤R¤D’s “I’m A PC” Microsoft Ad
This is the first “Microsoft Ad” that features N¤E¤R¤D. Check it out at 0:48
London Halo 3 Launch With Pharrell
Jerry Seinfeld & Bill Gates Microsoft Commercial
This has to be one of the best video I’ve seen in a while on youtube… goes straight to my favourites lol.
A decidedly huge list of celebrity guest stars was milling about, including Pharrell Williams, Spencer Pratt from “The Hills,” Cobra Starship’s Gabe Saporta and Ryland Blackington, and former Blink-182 singer Mark Hoppus. So, really, what is going on here? Wentz then added that, yes, there’s going to be plenty of cameos in the video, only they’ll all be done with a decidedly “Tom Cruise-ian” twist. And that sort of explained another scene we witnessed, one that showed Pharrell ripping off what appeared to be a Stump mask and then singing along with the track. “We’re all fans of ‘Mission Impossible,’ and in part three, they really nailed it, where they had these great masks with these great reveals,” Wentz said. “So me and Pharrell and Spencer and Gabe and Mark Hoppus all went and got our faces cast, like plaster castings made, and we’re going to do actual reveals. So I hope they look good. … I hope I’m not putting my foot in my mouth or anything right now.”
Artist Brian Donnelly — also known as KAWS — exhibit Saturated opens at the Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin (194 NW 30th Street, Miami). However, KAWS is more than just a artist; he leaves his mark on apparel, shoes, toys, bags and what-have-yous, creating more of a lifestyle brand of wearable art. Lately, his work has been gaining so much attention that he’s been feature in the New York Times. Tomorrow’s exhibit, curated by Pharrell Williams — yes, that Pharrell Williams — is his first solo show since 2002 and runs through November 15. Check the video on KAWS by i-D Magazine after the jump to learn a little more about the man.
I-D Magazine KAWS
At the top of this phone interview, Robin Thicke jokingly refers to himself as a “wandering minstrel.” As the interview goes on, the 31-year-old Thicke, California-born son to ’80s TV dad Alan Thicke and soap star Gloria Loring, establishes himself as a man who doesn’t take himself too seriously. (He dots many a statement with that beach-bum stoner’s laugh of his.) He has plenty of reasons to be jovial these days. After making platinum-selling waves with his 2006 album “The Evolution Of Robin Thicke,” which contained that breakthrough, adult-contemporary R&B hit “Lost Without U,” he’s following up with “Something Else,” set for release at the end of the month. And now he’s on the road with the mighty Mary J. Blige as part of the Love-Soul Tour. “Working with her is just a gift, you know,” says Thicke, on the horn from New York. Thicke and Blige go way back, as they collaborated on a song Thicke penned. “I mean, just being around her, you learn so much about just letting it go and feeling the music, you know. Because that’s what she does.”
However, one thing he’s had to laugh off recently is the “controversy” that brewed between him and Vibe Magazine. Thicke stated in a Billboard article how disappointed he was that he wouldn’t be the cover boy for the October issue of Vibe. He said in the article: “When I did a recent interview with Vibe Magazine, I asked, ‘Why can’t I get the cover? This is a magazine I love. If there’s one magazine that I’d want to be on the cover of, it’s Vibe.’ Their response was they don’t have white artists on the cover; that the only white artist they’ve had on the cover was Eminem. I guess if that’s what it is, it is what it is.”(FYI: The issue has a nude Ciara on the cover. So that probably explains why he didn’t get it.) Although he went on to say that he doesn’t want to use the word “racism” to describe the magazine’s decision, online reports ran with it anyway, citing that Thicke called Vibe straight-up “racist.” Vibe editor-in-chief Danyel Smith even sent out a statement declaring that the magazine respects Thicke and “we remain flattered by his desire to be on a Vibe cover.”
Rapper Busta Rhymes started his career on Elektra Records, which was run by Sylvia Rhone. It now appears that he’s come full circle. Rhymes has left Aftermath/Interscope Records for Rhone’s Motown Universal label. Rhymes was scheduled to release his latest album, Blessed, in July but allegedly fell out with Interscope Records head Jimmy Iovine. In addition to Elektra Records, Rhymes recorded for J Records before joining the Interscope roster through Dr. Dre’s Aftermath label. Rhymes released one project through the deal, 2006’s gold-certified The Big Bang. The album was Rhymes’first album to debut at Number One on the Billboard 200 albums chart. There’s no word yet on if and when Blessed will be released. The set features collaborations with Dr. Dre, Green Lantern, Cool & Dre, Nottz, Timbaland and The Neptunes with two tracks “Kill Dem” featuring Tosh and “G-Stro”.
Humility has never been their strong suit. But since 2001, when the Hives exploded onto the garage rock revival scene in matching black-and-white suits, they have proved themselves to be at least partially worthy of their own hyperbole. In 2002, they were voted best live band in the world by Q magazine and eighth-best by Spin. But around the release of their third album, Tyrannosaurus Hives, the band of hyperactive Swedish poster boys for the law of attraction had a three-year scuffle with the law of gravity. While they would never publicly admit the need for a parachute, the Hives responded appropriately to their slow descent in popularity by “wood-shedding.” With a lot of help from their friends, they produced their most ambitious effort to date, Black and White (originally titled The World’s First Perfect Album).
You worked with a few producers on the record, including Pharrell Williams. Who challenged you the most?
In a way, the Pharrell stuff was most challenging because we wrote all that stuff in the studio the week we were there. We didn’t come in with finished songs, which is the way we had always done it before.
Where did you draw your inspiration from in that process?
We basically just hung out with Pharrell and listened to stuff on iTunes and talked about what we liked. Then someone would have an idea that would maybe turn into a song [or] maybe not. We were always intrigued with a period in the early ’80s when all the rock bands tried to get a disco hit. So we had talked with Pharrell before, and that’s what we were trying to do when we walked into the studio: a disco-rock number.
The rapper and N¤E¤R¤D turn the Grove into a hip-hop party. The marquee, part of Common’s nightclub stage design, said it all: Common & N¤E¤R¤D Souled Out. Both acts lived up to the claim too, giving life to a genre whose commercial presence rarely finds any essence at all. For Common the performance Monday night at the Grove of Anaheim was his biggest local showing in memory and he hit the stage seemingly with that in mind. Kicking things off with “Announcement,” the veteran underground Chicago rhyme-smith set the mood for a party rapping “Everybody I’d like to announce / Throw your hands up when we in the house / Yeah, this is hip-hop baby / I’m gonna take you to the tip-top baby.” He proceeded to drive that point home with a career-spanning 20 songs and snippets brought to life better than on record by his excellent live backing band. Common intertwined old school hip-hop with his own songs (best when “The Corner” met Nas’ “N.Y. State Of Mind“) while giving the crowd some of the unexpected including “The Food,” a song originally performed on “Chappelle’s Show” and “Get ‘Em High,” which he guest starred on, from Kanye West’s debut.
Random cuts weren’t the only surprises Common had in store though – he did a bit of break-dancing with Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams during his new single “Universal Mind Control” – and he spit a nearly five-minute long freestyle which covered everything from Barack Obama to Kanye West’s recent fight with a paparazzo’s camera. Though the rapper did commit the worst of all live hip-hop offenses by cutting a number of his songs short (most notably with “Go” and “Be“), he only let up on his aggressive flow to make the ladies swoon, easily showing that he’s a far better performer than his lack of mainstream popularity would lead one to believe. While the headliner came out firing, experimental hip-hop outfit N¤E¤R¤D, led by eclectic frontman Williams, originally stumbled out of the gate in its opening slot, only to pick up steam as the performance wore on. While the group isn’t a match for hip-hop’s reigning live band the Roots, N¤E¤R¤D’s fusion of hip-hop, rock and jazz doesn’t disappoint when everything is working properly.
Too bad a muddy vocal mix buried under the thunder of two drummers took the life out of early numbers including “Anti Matter” and “Brain,” but as the piano stabs and drum noise of “Sooner Or Later” announced the end of the softer portion of N¤E¤R¤D’s set, things definitely picked up. The band switched the script and invited a group of guys on stage to dance during “Rockstar” (was that a guy skanking like he was at a Reel Big Fish show?) and much of the crowd was in a frenzy by the time “Spaz“‘s elastic bounce came blasting through the house speakers. Pharrell and Co. kept the mood high, inviting about 30 girls on stage for “Everyone Nose,” expertly interrupted by “She Wants To Move” (part of which came over the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army“). By the end of this one the song proved true – they all wanted to move to a surprisingly strong showing that started off as anything but.
Common – Sex For Sugar (Neptunes)
Common – Announcement (Neptunes)
Common – The Eye & Come Close feat. Pharrell (Neptunes)
Chad, Pharrell & Common Breakdancin’ To UMC
Common – Make My Day (Neptunes)
Common – Gladiator (Neptunes)
Shae Haley (left, with Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo) says it’s ‘always about the performance.’ On the surface, a N¤E¤R¤D mash-up seems confusing, but according to Shae Haley, the band’s mix of hip hop, pop and rock is not that confusing. “It’s not that complicated,” he insists. “It’s not us in the studio going ‘Us, no’, Us, yes.’ You just know what is right for you. It’s a feeling.” To the trio, it’s all very simple. The Neptunes produce records. N¤E¤R¤D goes out and plays. “Actually, the only time we get asked about this is in interviews,” say both Haley and Williams. “Our fans know what to expect. “We’ve always been about a band,” continues Haley. “We’ve always been about the experience. It’s always been about the performance.” Thus The Neptunes leave home, don the N¤E¤R¤D hats, pick up Haley, flesh out their band with two drummers (one is Williams) and try out different things. “There’s definitely a lot of improvisation onstage,” stresses Haley. Then again, jamming isn’t new to a band that is as resourceful as N¤E¤R¤D. “You have to be open to ideas,” Haley agrees. “You have to be open. Closed doors, closed windows, don’t let in much light.” Another distinction between Neptunes and N¤E¤R¤D is that N¤E¤R¤D songs are topical, dealing with bullying, violence, rebellion and war. “We’re aware of substance,” says Haley. “We could write pop hits, but we’re aware of other matters.” Has this allowed N¤E¤R¤D to develop an identity of its own? “I don’t know,” Haley figures. “Only you can tell us. I know what we’re not and that’s a million things. “How did you hear about us?” he asks curiously. A little listening, a little reading, a little prompting by the promoter. From that, there was this sense of a band that is optimistic. It’s easy to write songs that are gloomy; much harder to be positive. “That’s a huge compliment,” Haley says humbly. “That’s a confirmation of what we’re about.”
Show your support for Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential Election with this comfortable official logo t-shirt. Designed by Pharrell Williams. On the heels of his Artists for Obama online store (launched with Shepard Fairey’s Change poster), the junior senator from Illinois has enlisted two dozen luminaries to make some gear to help fill campaign coffers. Highlights from Runway to Change include T-shirts from Maria Cornejo, Pharrell Williams (pictured), and Tracy Reese, as well as canvas totes by Rag & Bone, Isaac Mizrahi, and Marc Jacobs. Sure, call the stuff elitist, but having seen the slim pickings inspired by McCain, the conservative crowd might want to take their chances at Bob Barr’s store. $60-$80,
According to Fallout Boy bassist Pete Wentz his MTV show FNMTV is being commissioned for a second season. He wrote the following in his blog: ”So Mark Hoppus, Pharrell, Spencer Pratt, and Gabe Saporta will all be making cameos in our new video for ‘I Don’t Care’ also there will be a few suprises. And some bigger news: FNMTV season two looks like it is being picked up. We are going to keep working out the bugs and bringing to you. keep supporting music videos.
“I’m not signed to Re-Up Gang Records anymore. I asked for release—make sure it says that—I asked for a release, nobody dropped me. So put free agent in there,” says Sandman, the baritone voiced MC you may have heard of. And just like that, the Re-Up Gang, as we have known it, is no more. Well, while the Clipse (Malice, Pusha-T) and Ab-Liva press on, Sandman’s menacing mic antics will no longer be riding shotgun. After three critically acclaimed We Got It 4 Cheap mixtapes, the Philadelphia repping MC has decided to move on, citing uncertainty surrounding the team’s direction and too flexible release dates. It was only in March 2008, that Sandman was telling AllHipHop, “I’m happy where I’m at as far as Re-Up Gang records,” shortly after Re-Up announced a joint venture with Columbia Records at the top of ’08. According to Sandman, the proper Re-Up Gang album was supposed to be released on June 9th. “Obviously that date has been revoked and now the Clipse have a date for the top of ’09,” says Sandman. “There’s nothing else left in that pipeline there was no discussions to have, it was just like alright that’s that.”
Then there is the case of the critically maligned Clipse Presents… Re-Up Gang album released on August 5, 2008 via Koch Records. According to Sandman the project was never supposed to be part of the group’s equation, as far as he knew. While the lyrics have never been a question from the four man squad, the album’s beats were lackluster, with a number of songs being “remixed” cuts from the We Got It 4 Cheap Vol. 3 mixtape. Sandman notes that he was just as confused as the fans. “I was told by Pusha that we was gon’ license the beats for We Got It 4 Cheap Vol. 3 and simply put that in the stores, shoot a video for ‘20K [Money Making Brothers on a Corner]’ and ‘Show You How To Hustle,’” says Sandman. “We went around promoting “20K Brothers” as our first single. Out of no f***in’ where comes this ‘Fast Life’ record.” For those keeping up, the Scott Storch produced “Fast Life” was the lead single for the Clipse Presents Re-Up Gang album, but the song only featured Pusha-T and Malice.
3 Of 5 Stars
At a time when most R&B Casanovas, taking their cues from rappers, are thuggish egomaniacs — or, in the case of R. Kelly, just plain freaky — Robin Thicke offers a vanilla alternative. (No pun intended.) His largely self-produced third album picks up where his big 2007 hit “Lost Without U” left off, with Thicke cooing in an airy falsetto that holds promises of honesty, fidelity and long nights in the boudoir focused solely on Her Pleasure. The music is a lush, louche swirl of strings, congas and Fender Rhodes that flaunts its debts to Marvin Gaye (“You’re My Baby“), classic disco (“Something Else“) and Philly soul (“Magic“). As a utilitarian background soundtrack, it’ll do nicely — lots of babies will be made to ballads like “Cry No More.” But Thicke’s songwriting teeters into self-parody, and his mixed metaphors — “We’re just spaceships in the night/Ripping the clothes off of the past/Making a new path” — could break the mood of the randiest couples.
When we last left off, we were somewhere in the British countryside between Edinburgh and London. After some battery recharge and a traditional English breakfast (of blood sausage of course), we hop into our now-reeking van and hightail it to London. There’s not enough time to watch a movie or take any significant nap, so we play a round of “Truth Or Dare” and find out Tyler used to be a child prodigy in tap dancing. Right on, bro! We pull into our hotel, in Russell Square, which, thankfully, is right near the British Museum! None of us go to the British Museum. We’re in a rock band. No, instead we head to Buckingham Palace and go harass the guards a lil’ bit. Afterwards, we hit up the Bape store, do some window shopping and head to the Astoria 2 to set up for the gig.
When we get there, we’re greeted by Max’s wife and some friends we met on our last trip to the UK. The club is cool but, by all accounts, incredibly weird. It’s laid out like how you’d imagine a German sex dungeon would be… cages everywhere, scary black interior, the works. After setting up, we hit up the backstage and just go into relaxation mode. Tonight’s show is, by far, the latest show we’ve played this tour (all the other gigs were around 8, this one is at 12:30). Since we’re bored, we play another round of Truth Or Dare and find out Tyler was a child prodigy at synchronized swimming as well. Who knew the guy was so multi-talanted? Soon enough, it’s time for our show and we, of course, rock the house. The house, however, is a bit hesitant to be rocked at first. But we convert the hell out of the crowd and bring the house down by the end of the show.
We go outside to pack up our gear and notice a sea of photographers there to harass Max and his wife, so we figure out a plan to get them out of there, pack up our gear and go with minimal amounts of annoyance. Then we go out and have a fun time in one of the coolest cities in the world (ie we go to our hotel room and play a third round of Truth Or Dare). DA, our videographer Lukas and Omar head over to Bungalow 8 and meet up with the Blag girls (from Blag Magazine) and, later that evening, meet the guys from The Killers, who are super nice dudes. It’s a long night and most of us barely get any sleep, but it’s okay. We can sleep when we’re dead. Or, as an even better option, on the plane. Which is what we do. Goodbye UK! It’s time to come home and… go on tour! Next time… US Tour Diary
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