The-Neptunes-by-Clay-Patrick-Mc-Bride

The Fader wrote a story about our Grindin’ Forum, highlighting how frequent users went on to lead global cults of their own, such as Tyler, The Creator, M.I.A., Drake, Janelle Monáe, and others. It’s incredibly insane to even get mentioned in an article, but to have a whole article written about Grindin’ leaves us speechless.

I find myself repeating, but The Neptunes.org’s forum, Grindin, stands out as one of the most talented forums, boasting an above-average number of gifted individuals who have either achieved success or are on the cusp of doing so. This forum has a wealth of talented contributors and readers who have risen to global fame. The Fader highlighted four users from the forum—producer Matt Martians, artist manager Shiv Pandya, rapper Remy Banks, and video director Shomi Patwary—to reflect on their experiences lurking and learning there. Before delving into their stories below, here’s my perspective.

I’m probably the biggest Neptunes groupie there is, and I’ll tell you why. My name is Milan Dimić, 33 years old, born in Belgrade, Serbia. You can call me Mika, aka DJ Freakiii. I graduated with a degree in Computer Science and speak English, German, Swedish, and Serbian. My greatest passion is music, particularly from The Neptunes, Timbaland, and Mr. Carmack. That’s why I run several (fan)sites dedicated to them.

It all began in 2000 when nearly everything The Neptunes touched turned to gold. I started jotting down the songs I liked on a piece of paper so I could download them later at a friend’s house using Napster. I often wondered why Pharrell Williams was consistently featured on these amazing tracks I enjoyed. My introduction to The Neptunes came after purchasing Jay-Z’s ‘I Just Wanna Love U (Give It To Me)’ and reading the booklet, where I discovered their name. Immediately, I dove into searches on Napster and later on KaZaA the following year.

In 2001, I discovered the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and stumbled upon a Neptunes channel named #theneptunes on eFnet. This was a community where people shared the rarest Neptunes music released up to that point. It was there that I met Melladon, also known as Melvin Kendall, the owner of #theneptunes, along with others like Icyblaze, PimpNERD, Matty2phat, Frosty, TennieBoper, ChaseChad, AlSween, Kweli (Aaron), CheLa, Markwilly, DJ Reflex, Torzka, Mari, BabyMilo, Patrick Pryor, Jada, Volks, and many more.

mIRC was the go-to for downloading music through DCC (Direct Client-to-Client) with File Servers, back when upload sites like Zippyshare weren’t around. The mIRC channel still exists, albeit with only about three users online at Rizon. I remember the excitement when N*E*R*D‘s ‘In Search Of…’ leaked; we had around 100 users in the room, which was a huge turnout (although nothing compared to 2003 when ‘Clones‘ leaked—we had about 200 users in the room). Everyone was queued up, eagerly waiting to get their hands on a copy of the album. After N*E*R*D‘s debut, I knew those guys were my passion and that they would change my life.

The following year, in 2002, Star Trak Entertainment launched their legendary Star Trak Forum along with their Beats Section, where everyone showcased their best Neptunes-inspired beats. A shoutout to Chicago’s finest Patrick Pryor, AlSween, knurrknurr, and NaBru, who was the real Thicke. It was during this time that I started creating Neptunes fakes because it was enjoyable. Then, I received an email from a guy named Jean-Luc from Paris, France, who had just started a Neptunes fansite called Grindin’.free.fr, which was entirely in French. He asked if I would like to help him by updating the site with information about Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams.

Jean-Luc had been active on the Star Trak Forum, where he saw me regularly posting about the newest releases from The Neptunes. Whenever a new track leaked, I would quickly share the information on the Star Trak Forum, like ‘All Saints – Black Coffee feat. Pusha T. (The Neptunes Remix) (01′) #theneptunes eFnet’, a hashtag known only to true die-hard Neptunes fans on eFnet. When Jean-Luc approached me about blogging for a Neptunes site, I enthusiastically agreed. After a while, he purchased the domain theneptunes.org, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I never had the chance to meet Chad and Pharrell personally, but I did attend their N*E*R*D ‘Fly Or Die’ Tour when they performed in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2006, the Grindin’ Forum was established with Jean-Luc and me, and later Mari took over and bought the domain. As the mIRC channel slowly emptied, we all migrated to the forum. One thing I excelled at (apart from creating fake tunes and editing tracks—chances are you might have something I’ve worked on stored on your PC, be it a Neptunes or Timbaland track) was uncovering rare content online. I managed to amass the rarest Neptunes tracks ever and began leaking them slowly, year after year, track by track. Sometimes, certain ‘enthusiastic’ individuals cough managers cough would trade with me for these tracks, including gems like #vulnerable, #bigwhitespaceship, #newglasses, and #bootknockilization, to name a few.

The funny part is, even the management at Star Trak Entertainment didn’t know about all the tracks I was leaking and assumed I might have been working for them. There’s a tradition on the Grindin forum where I share rare Neptunes tracks every year for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and this tradition continues to this day. As you’re aware, VIPs like Tyler, The Creator, Drake, M.I.A., Tinie Tempah, Diplo, and many others have posted and lurked on the forum, some of them still do. But you already know that. That pretty much sums it up, and I have to give a big shoutout to Jean-Luc, without whom none of this would have been possible. Salute to the master!

You can read The Fader Article Here.

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