In Search Of... / Fly or Die
Shortlist Music Prize Nominees (number: 2002 winner)
en: In Search of... (N.E.R.D album) [info]
N.E.R.D. (which stands for Nothing Ever Really Dies) is the public face for hip hop producers Pharrell, Chad and Shay aka The Neptunes. If you haven't heard of them yet you will have almost have certainly heard something they've worked on. Jay Z, Mystikal, Kelis, ODB, Mary J Blige and Noreaga are amongst the many that have had The Neptunes treatment. With five years experience behind the desk, working with some of the scenes biggest players there is no doubting their credentials; these guys are the real deal.
Musically inventive with a healthy sense of humour, N.E.R.D. have produced a great hip hop record. Production wise these guys are so distinctive. Fusing their beats with a cool, electro-industrial funk as well as elements soul and rock In Search Of... provides a new slant on a sound where so many jostle for space.
By their own declaration, the first single to be released from the album, "Lapdance", attempts to raise political awareness amongst the youth by drawing a parallel between strippers and politicians. Whether this has been achieved is debatable but that said this booty shaking anthem has fast become a dance floor staple.
Much like the album in its entirety, the lo-fi "Stay Together" is a testament to the music they love, the force that bought them together in Virginia way back when. Hip hop would be a very different place if it weren't for The Neptunes, all those years behind the scenes have honed N.E.R.D. in to the full package and now its their turn. Large and in charge.