The year was 2001. Producer / soloist / entrepreneur / all around icon Pharrell Williams was but a young 28 years old. But you would have no idea because the man looks the same now as he did fifteen years ago, dare I say even better. Seriously, this dude is ageless. Good genes; hearty lifestyle; mystical pact; I don’t care what it is…I want in! Superior molecular makeup aside, Pharrell has had about a million other things working in his favor to get him where he is today, all of his own doing. But it’s his ambitious beginnings that merit today’s throwback piece.
Originally impacting the late 90’s scene as one half of beatmaking duo The Neptunes, Williams was responsible for some of the era’s freshest and most significant sounds. But working behind the boards can only satisfy a headliner-to-be for so long. So along with fellow Neptune Chad Hugo, the prolific perfeormer recruited longtime Shay Haley and formed the genre-ambiguous side project N*E*R*D. A bacronym for No-one Ever Really Dies, the trio would make monstrous moves with their debut In Search Of… and its imposing lineup of innovative cut after innovative cut. But it has to be lead single “Lapdance” that truly carries itself as the cream of the crop.
Fusing alt-rock, hip-hop, and funk elements and featuring rappers Lee Harvey and Vita, the hard-hitting track is a triumph in outside-the-box composition. I remember being a naive high school know-it-all thinking to myself “Wow, I’ve never heard anything like this before.” I was blown away by the various rhythmic threads, each playing off one another to elevate the entirety to compelling heights. And on top of it all, it’s a damn fun tune too.
Give ‘Lapdance’ a spin below and revel in the glory that is Pharrell Williams: