Pioneer, master of fashion and fountain of youth: Pharrell Williams is 50 years old (yes, really!) and during that time he has influenced our popular culture like no one else.
On April 5, Pharrell Williams celebrated his fiftieth birthday. You haven’t seen it in half a century. “I exfoliate like crazy and drink a lot of water,” the American explains his youthful appearance.
His creativity also seems indestructible: the producer, singer, and rapper has shaped our taste in music for three decades.
Here are the top three footprints left by Pharrell Williams in pop culture:
1. Pop star producers: The Neptunes
Williams made his name as a rap producer with The Neptunes (along with Chad Hugo) in the mid-1990s. The two cemented their reputation with songwriting and producing credits for Blackstreet’s acts (“tonight’s the Night”), pins («Gridin’») and Noreaga aka NORE (“superhero”).
Her style—often simple, sometimes whimsical, always sexy—finally hit the mainstream with Jay-Z’s 2000 banger I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me).
Hit the world followed by hit the world: “I am the slave 4 u” Written by Britney Spears 2001, Niels “Hot in Hare” 2002, “Senorita” Written by Justin Timberlake and Kylis “milkshake” 2003 Snoop Doggs “Let go immediately” 2004 and 2005 “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani. Those numbers account for the small ensembles, but they’ve held up a long time and will likely remain trusty fillers on the dance floor for decades to come.
2. Rap-rock darlings: NERD
Williams and Hugo’s schedules were full of Neptune commitments — but they still found time to make up NERD with rapper and singer Shay Hayley (47). In 2001, the group released their debut album, “In Search of…”, but withdrew this version because it ran too far in the Neptunes audio realm.
The 2002 international version of the record is dominated by thumping guitars and a soundtrack that NERD celebrates to this day, thus sounding like a supergroup founded by The Roots, the Beastie Boys, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Tracks like «Lapdance» and “Rock Stars” It’s still hitting hard nearly 20 years later.
3. The bombshell: Pharrell Solo
Even without the band, Pharrell let off steam. His first record, “On My Mind,” was exploding with guest star power (Gwen Stefani! Jay-Z! Snoop Dogg!), but in the end he was more shooting star than mighty comet.
The all-rounder returned to the pop throne ten years ago with two big hit singles: “blurred lines” Also with Robin Thicke “get lucky” with Daft Bank. The songs took second and third places in the 2013 Swiss Annual Show. A year later, this was followed by the indescribably catchy “Happy” from the “Despicable Me 2” soundtrack, which easily became the biggest hit of 2014.
Williams had a similar grip in the 2010s as a solo artist as he did in the 2000s with The Neptunes. Since then, the really big hits are gone, but with features like Calvin Harris’s “Feels,” he keeps talking – and above all in the ear.
His next project is now taking him off the stage and onto the catwalk: He’s succeeding Virgil Abloh, who passed away in 2021, as creative director of menswear at luxury brand Louis Vuitton. In June, he will present his first collection, and based on his previous successes, he will probably have a hit with it.
“Professional music expert. Creator. Student. Twitter aficionado. Unapologetic coffee trailblazer.”
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