Noreaga's Superthug is paradigmatic in its cannibalization of the entire Neptunes catalog. Typified in a sparse foundry for MC cadence, the single matched grit minimalism with a sheik, rhapsodic verbal assault. This unique bombast, underlined by what sounds like a helicopter blade gone berserk, is the first real indication of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo's immediate trajectory: street beats for hardcore rappers. The framework would peak with the cavernous staccato of Clipse's Grindin'.
Both songs become substantial enough hits to attract a tide of eager record labels hoping to equip their mainstream artists with a blunt edge. The Neptunes' mantra then became that of a maverick filmmaker constrained by Hollywood's rules of exchange. One for them, one for me.
Massive chart followed with ginormous singles for Britney, Gwen Stefani, and Justin Timberlake. The once reclusive sound became pop and victimized the Neptunes to their own success. Watered down imitation ran rampant by lower level producers anxious to duplicate. The Neptunes acknowledged this by titling their debut album, Clones.
Since then, they've struggled to solidify a unique place in radio clutter. Not sure if this has caused a riff between the two as recent production neglects writing credits for Chad (though Neptunes production moniker remains). Pharrell has since released a solo album equal parts rap and sing song. Left to his own devices, he seems to favor a less imposing spectrum. Perfectly packaged for disco queens and fairies.
I guess it was inevitable to work with Madonna.
Junking grim doom for textured lolly-gagging and effeminate pander, Pharrell has laced Hard Candy with a falsetto that now sounds in dire need of cock.
This is not to say the album is bad. Regretfully it's quite good. Pharrell and cross town rival, Timbaland (whose own evolution echos the Neps), double team the 'material girl' with leftover scraps off Justified and FutureSex. Respective tracks bleed well into one another. Pharrell, Timbaland. Timbaland, Pharrell. Love child Timberlake cooing in between. Madonna's core audience of gay men and beauty queen debutantes will be frolicking like pinballs in a pinball machine.
Pharrell however continues to hop skip away from VA roots. The transcendental world stage has I think consumed too much of his attention. I'm hopeful the new N.E.R.D reacquaints. Otherwise Chad should shoot him.