DISCOGRAPHY AUTOPSY: PHARRELL’S ASCEND INTO SUPERSTARDOM

DISCOGRAPHY AUTOPSY: PHARRELL’S ASCEND INTO SUPERSTARDOM

by CULTED
6 min
PHARRELL WILLIAMS©

The recent news of Pharrell’s appointment as Louis Vuitton’s menswears creative director has shocked the industry in a move towards highlighting the global star’s multi-level creative ventures. While Pharrell Williams has made a name for himself through many ventures, including fashion through his Billionaire Boys Club line, how we all got to know the artist was initially through music. He has produced some of our favourite songs, including KelisMilkshake and Snoop Dog’s Drop It Like It’s Hot. From his early days of being a boy band member in N.E.R.D. to his latest single in collaboration with Travis Scott, keep reading as we uncover Pharrell’s most influential tracks.

EVERYONE NOSE REMIX FT. KANYE WEST, LUPE FIASCO & PUSHA T

The lead single from N.E.R.D’s third studio album was remixed into a hedonistic club-banger with hard-hitting beats and distorted vocals. If the drug reference wasn’t clear enough, Ye’s addition to the song certainly sealed the deal as he referenced famous party girls Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. This late 00s hit quickly became one for the books with its catchy tune and roster of heavy-hitting features.

GET LUCKY FT. PHARRELL WILLIAMS & NILE RODGERS

While Pharrell is technically only a feature on Daft Punk’s Get Lucky he provided the main vocals for the song. Still channelling his party boy image as he literally states “I’m up all night to get lucky”, this electro-disco pop song gave the French duo Daft Punk their first ever US charting single thanks to Pharrell’s addition. Get Lucky became a global phenomenon and won two Grammy Awards and was performed at the 56th annual celebrations with special guest Stevie Wonder. 

HAPPY

Forget the partying, forget the entourage of rappers, forget the indulgence in a hedonistic lifestyle, because Pharrell turned it around and became PG in 2013 by releasing one of his biggest hits, Happy. Initially Pharrell wrote and produced the song for CeeLo Green, though after he passed it down, Pharrell decided to record it himself. 

It seems as though the musician made the right call as this uptempo song became a number 1 hit in the US, UK and 22 other countries, became the highest selling record of 2014 in the US, it received an Academy Award nomination and won a Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Music Video. On top of that, the entire world couldn’t get enough of the positive vibes song, hearing it on every radio station and in every supermarket. The one thing left to say is that CeeLo Green really fumbled that bag.

LEMON WITH RIHANNA

The boyband returned in 2017 after a 7 year hiatus with its fifth studio album No_One Ever Really Dies, releasing Lemon with Rihanna as its lead single. The high-energy song features Rihanna’s tough rap verses and a sample of US Senator Arlen Specter saying “wait a minute”. The song, which was initially written for P. Diddy, was obviously a success, as N.E.R.D. fans all over the world were waiting to hear something new from the band since its last 2010 release Hyptonize U (if we don’t count their 2014 Spongebob movie promotional tracks). Lemon went on to win an MTV VMA award and received a Drake remix a year later.

DOWN IN ATLANTA WITH TRAVIS SCOTT

The last we’ve heard from Pharrell, musically-speaking, was on this joint effort with Travis Scott which was released last year. The two paired up for Down In Atlanta, marking it as their third collaboration after Flying High (2015) and SKELETONS (2018). While neither of them are from Georgia, the two rappers nod to the city in the song which is vocally led by Scott accompanied by Pharrell’s funk-infused trap beats.

More on CULTED

See: THE GUESSING GAMES ARE OVER: PHARRELL WILL BE TAKING OVER LOUIS VUITTON MENSWEAR

See: DISCOGRAPHY AUTOPSY: THE INS AND OUTS OF STORMZY

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