Pharrell Williams is a genius. There’s no way around that. His reputation could be diminished if you note that much of his success should be attributed to Chad Hugo (which it should – he’s a pillar of innovation too), but since his start with Wreckx N’ Effect and grooming Kelis and Clipse, his aptitude for music has been ridiculous. If you find that hard to believe then ask the next woman you hold a conversation with as there’s a 99.69% chance they’ve already watched YouTube clips of him performing at Coachella. Pharrell just has an au natural charm and a way of influencing artists to overpower their restrictions (Frank Ocean, Mac Miller, Schoolboy Q). If you missed his “guestified” set in Indio, then click through this history lesson that highlights the beats, verses, and ad-libs that timeline his merit.
1998 – MA$E: “LOOKIN’ AT ME” (FT. PUFF DADDY)
This is the corniest rap video in the history of rap videos but we’d wait in line for 48 hours to see Ma$e return and perform “Lookin’ At Me” 15 times before doing an encore with Brandy. “Top Of The World” was a jam.
1999 – OL’ DIRTY BASTARD: “GOT YOUR MONEY” (FT. KELIS)
Everyone knows the hook which was sung by Kelis before she was Kelis. RIP ODB.
2000 – BEENIE MAN: “GIRLS DEM SUGAR” (FT. MYA)
The track’s a rework of Beenie’s “Who Am I (Sim Simma)” but MYA. MYA. MYA. AND MYA.
2000 – JAY Z: “I JUST WANNA LOVE U (GIVE IT 2 ME)”
Sorry Drake; there actually was a time where Jay rapped about Crist, Gucci bras, and being a “pimp by blood”.
2000 – LUDACRIS: “SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY”
If you don’t know the first verse by heart then there’s something wrong with you. Get that checked.
2000 – MYSTIKAL: “DANGER (BEEN SO LONG)” (FT. NIVEA)
P was also responsible for “Shake Ya Ass” but let’s be real here: Mystikal’s turtleneck game is on point.
2001 – BRITNEY SPEARS: “I’M A SLAVE 4 U”
Pharrell’s not new to pop music. 2001 was his first big jump into that audience as he worked with Janet Jackson and contributed to N’ Sync’s “Girlfriend” & No Doubt’s “Hella Good”. Props goes to Brit for doing her own ad-libs though.
2001 – T.I.: “I’M SERIOUS” (FT. BEENIE MAN)
“I’m Serious” is a deep cut for the rap heads and is it us or does young Tip look like August Alsina?
2002 – BABY: “WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT BOY” (FT. CLIPSE)
Baby’s #1 Stunna features cameos from Lil Wayne and Roy Jones Jr. but P gets points for incorporating a bird call.
2002 – CLIPSE: “GRINDIN”
A forever be remembered classic and that’s all that needs to be said.
2002 – JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: “LIKE I LOVE YOU” (FT. CLIPSE)
Way back when Justin used to mess with the braids, The Neptunes collaborated with the former N’ Sync-er and co-wrote and produced seven of the songs on Justified – including “Senorita”, “Rock Your Body”, and “Like I Love You”. We’re only showing off the latter because it actually featured Clipse and proves JT did it better before JB.
2002 – NELLY: “HOT IN HERRE
If only you could bring back the Band-Aid as an accessory and not get knocked out for doing so.
2002 – N.O.R.E.: “NOTHIN'”
It’s 2014 – a time where NBA jeans aren’t a commodity anymore – and Noreaga is still going strong.
2003 – KELIS: “MILKSHAKE”
This entire song was written by Pharrell and Hugo. We’ll let you think about that for a second.
2003 – LENNY KRAVITZ – “SHOW ME YOUR SOUL” (FT. P. DIDDY & LOON)
The Bad Boys II soundtrack was hot. Like hotter than hot. It featured Jay Z, Beyonce, Timberlake, Snoop, Nelly, Freeway, Mary J. Blige, AND Da Band, but “Show Me Your Soul” rocks with the best verse we’ve ever seen from P.
2004 – GWEN STEFANI: “HOLLABACK GIRL”
Skateboard P plus “The Queen” equals the original source for the phrase “this my shit”. Look it up.