“On her debut disc, From A Planet Called Harlem, out in August, she mixes sweet ballads, brash jams and street-savvy rhymes that speak both for and to her young peers. Her message: You don’t have to fit into anybody’s mold but your own. “Harlem is a stage,” she says of the album’s title. “It’s like its own planet, from the way we dress to the swag in the way we walk and talk.”
Check your iPod. If you don’t have any N¤E¤R¤D tracks (and if that’s true, then you need to get on it, so read on to avoid further pitying), then dollars to donuts, you’ve got something they’ve applied their Midas touch to as The Neptunes — their production operation. Madonna and Britney, Ludacris, Snoop, and Kanye — they’re currently backing him on his much-lauded Glow In The Dark Tour. Hell, they’ve even remixed Sade. Or, put another way: open up the Billboard charts, close your eyes and randomly point to an artist. Now open them. There’s an excellent chance the brain trust behind N¤E¤R¤D produced, remixed or will remix and/or produce that artist, taking already solid material to a new dimension you didn’t know existed but suddenly need a whole lot more of — the flavor of dream you’re not sure is the good or bad type, but you know it tastes better than being awake.
N¤E¤R¤D is Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo and Shae Haley. Like a giant squid fused with a set of conjoined octopus twins, the end result of N¤E¤R¤D’s time spent behind the controls sounds like they’ve got a lot more than just six hands and 30 fingers on deck. And the tracks snap, crackle and pop with the hyperstimulated sizzle of sticking all 30 into 30 different electrical sockets. “With The Neptunes,” N¤E¤R¤D Chad Hugo told Hamptonroads.com, “we have that ability to collaborate with artists, and they have their vision and we’re there to paint different scenarios. As N¤E¤R¤D, what we put out is directly from our brains to the stage. We’re in our own shoes. We have the ability to be ourselves.” Right. Which is why they’re about to drop their third N¤E¤R¤D album, Seeing Sounds, (out tomorrow), named for the neurological phenomenon synesthesia, where your senses basically swap shoes for the day. The album’s a celebration of their genre-resistant, chopped-and-screwed, tilted-and-twisted sound, complete with that hypnotic sawtooth bass swagger, dirty-ass drumming, superfunked, sexed-up, spaced-out blips, beeps and bumps.
We always suspected these guys saw things we don’t. Turns out they see everything we don’t. And with N¤E¤R¤D — forever the sickest and coolest kids you know — piloting their musical spacecraft into complete sensory overload, we get to explore a whole new galaxy of songs, sounds and sights we’d never otherwise hear… or taste. Watch N¤E¤R¤D’s new video, “Everyone Nose (All the Girls Standing In Line for the Bathroom),” plus a few all-time N¤E¤R¤D classics, check out their MTV.com live peformances, watch an exclusive Buzzworthy interview with the Va Bee three, watch their exclusive Artist of the Week videos — including performance clips shot at Special Sauce in Bayshore, New York — and road trip clips, featuring Donnell Rawlings (Ashy Larry of Chappelle’s Show.)
Everyone Nose MTV Performance
U Gotta Go Cuz (With Donnell Rawlings) (Commercial)
Rockstar (Poser) (Dive Bar Remix)
NEW YORK – Chad Hugo is nervous. He’s sitting backstage for an interview after his band, N¤E¤R¤D, performed a rousing set in a sold-out Madison Square Garden as part of Kanye West’s “Glow In The Dark Tour”. He’s affable and gracious, but admits that the questions are “freaking me out.” “You’re like my shrink right now, and it’s really scary that I’m spilling all this (stuff) to you,” he says, laughing. Maybe that’s because he’s not used to the spotlight. Although he’s spent more than a decade as one half of The Neptunes — the superproduction duo whose whirring, funky soundscapes have become a signature in pop, R&B and hip-hop — he’s always been overshadowed by the team’s omnipresent face, Pharrell Williams.
That dancing dog from Britain’s Got Talent aside, nobody works harder than Pharrell Williams in the world of entertainment right now. Under his producer alias ‘The Neptunes’, he and ex-school buddy Chad Hugo have crafted multi-platinum hit after hit for an impressive roster of stars such as Madonna (Hard Candy), Britney (I’m A Slave 4 U) and Snoop (Drop It Like It’s Hot). On top of that, the 35-year-old Christian from Virginia Beach runs fashion label Billionaire Boys Club, nurses an acclaimed solo career, and is planning a move into directing movies. As we hook up with Pharrell, you can tell from the croak in his voice that he’s weary. But a day off is not coming any time soon – he’s just “got the band back together”. And as N¤E¤R¤D, the super-group formed of Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo and rapper Shae Haley, return with their third album (Seeing Sounds), we sit down with all three members for an exclusive chat.
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