What is N*E*R*D? The Neptunes are who we are and N*E*R*D is what we do. The Neptunes are me and Chad producing and making music for other people. N*E*R*D is me, Chad and Shay, a friend from where we live, Virginia.

Pharrell Williams on the N*E*R*D website

Production duo

As The Neptunes the production duo Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo have built up quite a name for themselves, working with a list of artists and bands that includes the likes of Jay-Z, Mystikal, the Backstreet Boys, Kelis, Janet Jackson, Usher and No Doubt, among others.

Williams and Hugo met in a Virginia Beach junior high school when they were both attending a 7th grade jazz program for musically gifted youngsters. They started playing around with music at Chad's house nearly every day, coming up with beats and ideas and tracks. Constantly playing around with their music, the duo was noticed by Teddy Riley at a talent show and signed as a group at future records. Over time they started concentrating on production more and more and that seemed to be where their niche in the music business was.

No-one Ever Really Dies

Enter N*E*R*D, for which the two team up with another Virginia buddy, Shay1, who helps write some of the songs and sings on the record. For Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo N*E*R*D is a side project. They earn their money with producing for other people, so with In search of..., their N*E*R*D debut album, they feel free to pursue their own tastes and interests.

    [..] when you're making records for yourself, you already know who you are; you can go as far deep into music as you can go without running into time. You can hold your breath for as long as you can and then come up for air and then go dive into another part of the pool, another part of life.

Pharrell Williams

Mixing everything from hard hip-hop beats to black psychedelic pop to classic rock to new wave, N*E*R*D has certainly created an interesting sound, although it seems to have alienated some of their regular fans. Especially after they decided to scrap the effort and re-recorded its songs with live instrumentation instead of programming. Williams and Hugo don't care. N*E*R*D is more about themselves and their personal views on music than it is about selling records, or making money. They have regular jobs for that.

    Chad: N*E*R*D stands for No-one Ever Really Dies. We chose that name to keep it separate from the Neptunes entity, the Neptunes as producers N*E*R*D as artists

    Pharrell: As the Neptunes...

    Chad: ...we are like Spiderman!

    Pharrell: and as N*E*R*D we're like...

    Chad: ...Peter Parker. More personal y'know? None of the uh, wall climbing business!

In an interview from Trevor Nelson's Rhythm Nation - June 2, 2001

In search of...

Their debut album is due out January 2002, but on their website you can listen to the tracks in full already. It also features a censored version of the video for the single Lapdance.

The track listing is as follows:

  1. Lapdance
  2. Things are getting better
  3. Brain
  4. Provider
  5. Truth or dare
  6. Tape you
  7. Run to the sun
  8. Baby doll
  9. Am I high
  10. Rock star - poser
  11. Bobby James
  12. Stay together



1 Either "[..] befriended rapper Shay Thorton [..]" or "[..] writer/vocalist Sheldon 'Shay' Haley [..]". Take your pick, because I can't be sure which source is correct...

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