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The Neptunes are a record production duo consisting of Pharrell Williams
Pharrell Williams
Pharrell Williams , commonly known simply as Pharrell, is an American rapper, singer, record producer, composer, and fashion designer. Williams and Chad Hugo make up the record production duo The Neptunes, producing hip hop and R&B music...

 and Chad Hugo
Chad Hugo
Charles Edward Hugo is an American musician and record producer. He is best known as one half of the music production and writing duo The Neptunes and as a member of the funk/rock band N.E.R.D. He is a saxophonist, pianist and guitarist...

, who are credited with contributing the sound for many successful hip hop
Hip hop music
Hip hop music, also called hip-hop, rap music or hip-hop music, is a musical genre consisting of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted...

, R&B and pop
Pop music
Pop music is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.- Definitions :David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop...

 artists in the late-1990s and 2000s. Since 2011 the duo started to work on their solo projects.

The Neptunes' sound is a distinctive brand of off-kilter, stripped-down electronic funk
Funk
Funk is a music genre that originated in the mid-late 1960s when African American musicians blended soul music, jazz and R&B into a rhythmic, danceable new form of music. Funk de-emphasizes melody and harmony and brings a strong rhythmic groove of electric bass and drums to the foreground...

 with sounds from Middle Eastern and Asian music including percussion and woodwind.

Pharrell sings and (later) raps on records and appears in videos, unlike his production partner Chad, and sometimes vocal partner Shay Haley, who tends to stay behind the scenes.

The Neptunes are estimated to have a net worth of $155 million
Million
One million or one thousand thousand, is the natural number following 999,999 and preceding 1,000,001. The word is derived from the early Italian millione , from mille, "thousand", plus the augmentative suffix -one.In scientific notation, it is written as or just 106...

 and are considered one of the most successful producers in music history, noted by numerous top 10 hits during the late-1990s and 2000s.

In 2009 Billboard ranked The Neptunes No. 1 on their list of Top 10 producers of the decade. Readers of Vibe Magazine named The Neptunes as the 3rd greatest hip-hop producers of all time behind Dr. Dre
Dr. Dre
Andre Romelle Young , primarily known by his stage name Dr. Dre, is an American record producer, rapper, record executive, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. He is the founder and current CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and a former co-owner and artist of Death Row Records...

 and DJ Premier
DJ Premier
Christopher Edward Martin , better known by his stage name DJ Premier , is an American record producer and DJ, and was the instrumental half of the hip hop duo Gang Starr, together with emcee Guru...

.

Biography


Pharrell and Chad met at a summer camp from the school of The Gifted and Talented in Virginia Beach, where Williams was a drummer and Hugo played tenor saxophone. They were also both members of a marching band
Marching band
Marching band is a physical activity in which a group of instrumental musicians generally perform outdoors and incorporate some type of marching with their musical performance. Instrumentation typically includes brass, woodwinds, and percussion instruments...

; Pharrell played kettle drum and Chad was a student conductor
Conducting
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

. In 1990 Chad and Pharrell formed a 4-piece "R&B type" group along with friends Shay and Mike Etheridge, which they named The Neptunes. Upon entering a local talent contest, they were discovered by Teddy Riley
Teddy Riley (new jack swing)
Edward Theodore Riley , professionally known as Teddy Riley, is an American singer-songwriter, musician, keyboardist, and record producer credited with the creation of New Jack Swing. Through his production work with Michael Jackson, Bobby Brown, Doug E. Fresh, Today, Keith Sweat, Heavy D., Jane...

, whose studio was close to Pharrell's school. After graduating from high school, they signed with Riley as a group.

Through working with Riley, Pharrell went on to write a verse for Wreckx-N-Effect
Wreckx-N-Effect
Wreckx-N-Effect was a New Jack Swing Hip-Hop group who had the multi-platinum hit "Rump Shaker" in 1992/1993, which was produced by Teddy Riley.-History:...

's 1992 #2 (billboard hot 100) hit "Rump Shaker". In 1994, Hugo and Williams had established themselves formally as a production duo under the previously used name "The Neptunes", and produced "Tonight's The Night" from Teddy Riley's group BLACKstreet
BLACKstreet
Blackstreet is an American R&B group founded in 1991 by Thomas Taliaferro and Teddy Riley, the inventor of New Jack Swing known for his work as a member of Guy. Chauncey Hannibal and Levi Little were signed under production and management contracts with Thomas Taliaferro and were merged into what...

's self-titled debut. Over the next three years they continued to produce occasionally. Some of the production, such as for SWV
SWV
Sisters with Voices, better known as SWV, is an American female R&B trio from New York. Formed in 1990 as a gospel group, SWV became one of the most successful R&B groups of the 1990s. They had a series of hits, including "Weak", "Right Here/Human Nature", "I'm So Into You", and "You're the One"....

 (1996) and Total
Total (band)
Total was an American R&B girl group and one of the signature acts of Sean Combs' Bad Boy Records imprint during the 1990s.-Emergence & Total:...

 (1996), had little resemblance to what would become their distinctive sound, while other songs such as Mase
Mase
Mason Durell Betha , better known by stage name Mase who was previously known as Murda Ma$e, is an American rapper, songwriter, actor and inspirational speaker...

's 1998 No.8 (Billboard hot 100) hit "Lookin' At Me" (from the Harlem World album, 1997) showed clear signs the Neptunes sound was developing.

Their first major production hit, and the most clear beginning of the distinctive Neptunes sound, came with N.O.R.E.
N.O.R.E.
Victor Santiago, Jr., best known by his stage name N.O.R.E. or Noreaga , is an American rapper of Puerto Rican descent...

's "Superthug
Superthug
"Superthug" is a hip-hop single by Puerto Rican American rapper Noreaga with background vocals from Kelis during the song's hook. It was the second single from his debut solo album, N.O.R.E.. At the time it became Noreaga's highest charting and most successful single, peaking at #36 on the...

" in 1998, reaching #36 on the Billboard Hot 100
Billboard Hot 100
The Billboard Hot 100 is the United States music industry standard singles popularity chart issued weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on radio play and sales; the tracking-week for sales begins on Monday and ends on Sunday, while the radio play tracking-week runs from Wednesday...

, and gaining them widespread attention for the first time. The duo then went on to work heavily with Kelis
Kelis
Kelis Rogers Kelis Rogers Kelis Rogers (born August 21, 1971 is an American musical artist. She is a BRIT Award, Q Award and NME Award winner and has been nominated for two Grammy Awards. She has had nine top 10 singles on the UK Singles Chart...

, producing her first album Kaleidoscope and Ol' Dirty Bastard
Ol' Dirty Bastard
Russell Tyrone Jones was an American rapper and occasional producer, who went by the stage name Ol' Dirty Bastard or simply ODB...

's record Got Your Money, on which Kelis is featured. They achieved huge commercial success with tracks like Jay-Z
Jay-Z
Shawn Corey Carter , better known by his stage name Jay-Z, is an American rapper, record producer, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. He is one of the most financially successful hip hop artists and entrepreneurs in America, having a net worth of over $450 million as of 2010...

's "I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)", Mystikal
Mystikal
Michael Lawrence Tyler , better known by his stage name Mystikal, is an American rapper, and actor from New Orleans.-1993-1994: Early career:...

's "Shake Ya Ass", and then-newly-renamed Diddy
Sean Combs
Sean John Combs , also known by his stage names Diddy and P. Diddy, is an American rapper, singer, record producer, actor, and entrepreneur. He has won three Grammy Awards and two MTV Video Music Awards, and his clothing line earned a Council of Fashion Designers of America award. He was originally...

's single "D.I.D.D.Y". Other notable hits during their commercial rise were Busta Rhymes
Busta Rhymes
Trevor Tahiem Smith, Jr., better known by his stage name Busta Rhymes ,Smith is an American rapper, producer and actor. Chuck D of Public Enemy gave him the alias Busta Rhymes after NFL wide receiver George "Buster" Rhymes...

' "Pass The Courvoisier pt. 2" and Usher
Usher (entertainer)
Usher Terry Raymond IV , who performs under the mononym Usher, is an American singer-songwriter, and actor. He is considered around the world to be the reigning King of R&B. Usher rose to fame in the late 1990s with the release of his second album My Way, which spawned his first Billboard Hot 100...

's "You Don't Have to Call".

Kelis
Kelis
Kelis Rogers Kelis Rogers Kelis Rogers (born August 21, 1971 is an American musical artist. She is a BRIT Award, Q Award and NME Award winner and has been nominated for two Grammy Awards. She has had nine top 10 singles on the UK Singles Chart...

 was one of several artists whose careers Hugo and Williams have helped launch; artists such as the Clipse
Clipse
Clipse is a Virginia Beach, Virginia-based hip hop duo. Formed in 1992 by brothers Malice and Pusha T , the group is heavily affiliated with production team The Neptunes and signed to Star Trak Entertainment.- Exclusive Audio Footage :The Thornton brothers were born in The Bronx, New...

, Vanessa Marquez
Vanessa Marquez
Vanessa Marquez may refer to:*Vanessa Marquez , singer*Vanessa Marquez , actress known for Stand and Deliver and ER...

and Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake
Justin Randall Timberlake is an American pop musician and actor. He achieved early fame when he appeared as a contestant on Star Search, and went on to star in the Disney Channel television series The New Mickey Mouse Club, where he met future bandmate JC Chasez...

's solo career were also closely tied to the Neptunes' involvement. They have also helped re-launch the careers of Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg
Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. , better known by his stage name Snoop Dogg, is an American rapper, record producer, and actor. Snoop is best known as a rapper in the West Coast hip hop scene, and for being one of Dr. Dre's most notable protégés. Snoop Dogg was a Crip gang member while in high school...

, Robin Thicke
Robin Thicke
Robin Charles Thicke is an Award-winning American R&B singer-songwriter, musician, composer, and actor. Thicke's albums, which he previously released under the moniker Thicke, are noted for their feature of a predominantly R&B sound. Robin Thicke has penned hits for popular artists such as...

 and Mystikal
Mystikal
Michael Lawrence Tyler , better known by his stage name Mystikal, is an American rapper, and actor from New Orleans.-1993-1994: Early career:...

.

In 2001, The Neptunes gained their first worldwide hit with Britney Spears
Britney Spears
Britney Jean Spears is an American recording artist and entertainer. Born in McComb, Mississippi, and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana, Spears began performing as a child, landing acting roles in stage productions and television shows. She signed with Jive Records in 1997 and released her debut album...

' single, "I'm A Slave 4 U
I'm a Slave 4 U
"I'm a Slave 4 U" is a song by American recording artist Britney Spears. The song was written and produced by Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, for Spears' third studio album, Britney . It was released on September 24, 2001 by Jive Records, as the first single from the album...

", which reached #1 in several countries in Europe and South America. The following year they reached #1 in the U.S. with Nelly
Nelly
Cornell Iral Haynes, Jr. , better known by his stage name Nelly, is an Grammy Award winning American rapper and actor. He has performed with the rap group St. Lunatics since 1993 and signed to Universal Records in 1999. Under Universal, Nelly began his solo career in 2000 with his debut album...

's single, "Hot in Herre
Hot in Herre
"Hot in Herre" is a popular song and single performed by the hip-hop artist Nelly, and was released in 2002 as the first single on his album Nellyville. The song's producers were The Neptunes...

". In August of the same year, The Neptunes were named "Producers of the Year" at both The Source
The Source (magazine)
The Source is a United States-based, monthly full-color magazine covering hip-hop music, politics, and culture, founded in 1988. It is the world's second longest running rap periodical, behind United Kingdom-based publication Hip Hop Connection. The Source was founded as a newsletter in 1988...

 Awards and the Billboard Music Awards.

In 2003, they released a self-credited album called The Neptunes Present... Clones
The Neptunes Present... Clones
Clones is an album of songs from various artists, produced by the production duo of Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams, known as The Neptunes. It was released on August 19, 2003, and debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart...

, featuring songs and remixes from various Star Trak artists. This album topped the US
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Billboard 200
Billboard 200
The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists...

 Albums Chart.

The Neptunes went home with two Grammy Awards in 2004, one for "Producer of the Year, Non-Classical", and another for "Best Pop Vocal Album" for their work on Justin Timberlake's No.2 Billboard hit Justified
Justified (album)
Justified is the debut album by American pop singer Justin Timberlake. Released during the hiatus of the group *NSYNC, the album signaled Timberlake's desire to craft a more mature image than that of a "boy band member". The album features guest performances by Timbaland, Clipse, Bubba Sparxxx, and...

. They also gained their first UK #1, again with Nelly
Nelly
Cornell Iral Haynes, Jr. , better known by his stage name Nelly, is an Grammy Award winning American rapper and actor. He has performed with the rap group St. Lunatics since 1993 and signed to Universal Records in 1999. Under Universal, Nelly began his solo career in 2000 with his debut album...

, and Flap Your Wings.

The Neptunes sound


Their 'sound' is mostly synthesizer
Synthesizer
A synthesizer is an electronic instrument capable of producing sounds by generating electrical signals of different frequencies. These electrical signals are played through a loudspeaker or set of headphones...

 riff
RIFF
The Resource Interchange File Format is a generic file container format for storing data in tagged chunks. It is primarily used to store multimedia such as sound and video, though it may also be used to store any arbitrary data....

s, Sampling Keyboard
Sampler (musical instrument)
A sampler is an electronic musical instrument similar in some respects to a synthesizer but, instead of generating sounds, it uses recordings of sounds that are loaded or recorded into it by the user and then played back by means of a keyboard, sequencer or other triggering device to perform or...

 and modules. The Neptunes sound was first heard on Noreaga's 1998 track "Superthug
Superthug
"Superthug" is a hip-hop single by Puerto Rican American rapper Noreaga with background vocals from Kelis during the song's hook. It was the second single from his debut solo album, N.O.R.E.. At the time it became Noreaga's highest charting and most successful single, peaking at #36 on the...

", although not their first production, the song made it officially known as "The Neptunes Sound". Another example of "The Neptunes Sound" is in the Daft Punk song "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger," which they did a remix of. The song was released in Daft Punk's remix album titled "Daft Club," which was released Internationally on December 3, 2003 and in the U.S. on January 27, 2004. Along with The Neptunes remix, there were also remixes by Jess and Crabbe, Basement Jaxx, and many more.

Drums


A Neptunes production is typically characterized by flat, punchy drum machine sounds and the use of module presets. "Grindin'
Grindin'
"Grindin" is the second single from the Virginia Beach rap duo Clipse. The song was produced by The Neptunes and featured on the Clipse's debut album, Lord Willin...

" was a drum track that paid tribute to Eric B. & Rakim
Eric B. & Rakim
Eric B. & Rakim were a hip-hop duo composed of DJ Eric Barrier and MC Rakim .Hailing from Long Island, New York, the pair are generally considered by hip hop enthusiasts to be one of the most influential and innovative groups in the genre...

's song of the same nature, "My Melody". Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake
Justin Randall Timberlake is an American pop musician and actor. He achieved early fame when he appeared as a contestant on Star Search, and went on to star in the Disney Channel television series The New Mickey Mouse Club, where he met future bandmate JC Chasez...

's "Like I Love You" paid tribute to the drums of the funk era, where the loop consisted of various snare sounds. On Busta Rhymes
Busta Rhymes
Trevor Tahiem Smith, Jr., better known by his stage name Busta Rhymes ,Smith is an American rapper, producer and actor. Chuck D of Public Enemy gave him the alias Busta Rhymes after NFL wide receiver George "Buster" Rhymes...

' "Light Yo Ass On Fire" they used a heavy chorus effect on the rhythm track suggesting an industrial or robotic theme. They have used the popular Roland TR-808
Roland TR-808
The Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer was one of the first programmable drum machines . Introduced by the Roland Corporation in early 1980, it was originally manufactured for use as a tool for studio musicians to create demos. Like earlier Roland drum machines, it does not sound very much like a real...

 drum sound on such songs as LL Cool J
LL Cool J
James Todd Smith , better known as LL Cool J , is an American rapper, entrepreneur, and actor...

's and Jamie Foxx
Jamie Foxx
Eric Marlon Bishop , professionally known as Jamie Foxx, is an American actor, singer-songwriter, stand-up comedian, and talk radio host. As an actor, his work in the film Ray earned him the Academy Award and BAFTA Award for Best Actor as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a...

's collaboration "Best Dress" but later production work introduced 'live' drum sounds similar to the ones they would frequently use under their N*E*R*D guise.

The Neptunes' engineer, in an interview with Sound on Sound magazine, revealed many of their production techniques. In reference to their drums he said, "Williams will play a standard drum kit, then I will cut 16 bars of it into a loop, before using the same method for other instruments including guitars. That's where a lot of the feel of their records comes from — it's not just machines and loops."

Vocals


Many Neptunes productions feature a hook with Pharrell singing falsetto
Falsetto
Falsetto is the vocal register occupying the frequency range just above the modal voice register and overlapping with it by approximately one octave. It is produced by the vibration of the ligamentous edges of the vocal folds, in whole or in part...

, including Jay-Z's "Excuse Me Miss
Excuse Me Miss
"Excuse Me Miss" is a song written and performed by American rapper Jay-Z. It released as a single for his seventh studio album The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse . It was also co-written and produced by The Neptunes, whose Pharrell sings the hook in falsetto voice. The lyrics refer to love at...

", Jadakiss' "Hot Sauce To Go", Kelis' "Flashback", and Snoop Dogg's "Beautiful
Beautiful (Snoop Dogg song)
"Beautiful" is a 2003 single by Snoop Dogg from his album Paid Tha Cost To Be Da Bo$$. The song was produced by The Neptunes and features Charlie Wilson and Pharrell Williams. The music video was filmed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The single peaked at #6 on the U.S...

". Pharrell also adds his own rhymes to his productions, including "Drop It Like It's Hot
Drop It Like It's Hot
"Drop It Like It's Hot" is a 2004 rap number-one hit single by Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell. Snoop performs the chorus and the second and third verses , while Pharrell performs the first verse....

" in 2004 and "Can I Have It Like That
Can I Have It like That
"Can I Have It Like That" is a song performed by rapper Pharrell Williams featuring Gwen Stefani. It was written and produced by Williams for his 2006 debut album In My Mind, and the song is the opening track. The song's hook comes from a one-line contribution from Stefani, used as part of a...

" from his solo debut album In My Mind
In My Mind (Pharrell album)
-Notes:* A song titled "Mamacita", which featured Reggaeton artist Daddy Yankee was leaked in early 2006 and was supposed to be the third single from the album, but it did not appear on the final track listing, nor was there a video for the song, but it is featured in the movie The Fast and the...

. Sometimes he is credited as a featured artist and other times he is not.

Synthesizers


Another sound found on Neptunes productions are their distinctive use of synth lines (popularized by Dr.Dre in the early 1990's with his G-funk
G-funk
G-funk, or Gangsta-funk, is a sub-genre of hip hop music that emerged from Westcoast gangsta rap in the early 1990s. G-funk incorporates multi-layered and melodic synthesizers, slow hypnotic grooves, a deep bass, background female vocals, the extensive sampling of P-funk tunes, and a high-pitched...

 sub-genre). Examples include the sharp unfiltered sawtooth
Sawtooth wave
The sawtooth wave is a kind of non-sinusoidal waveform. It is named a sawtooth based on its resemblance to the teeth on the blade of a saw....

 bass on Busta Rhymes
Busta Rhymes
Trevor Tahiem Smith, Jr., better known by his stage name Busta Rhymes ,Smith is an American rapper, producer and actor. Chuck D of Public Enemy gave him the alias Busta Rhymes after NFL wide receiver George "Buster" Rhymes...

' As I Come Back or Kelis
Kelis
Kelis Rogers Kelis Rogers Kelis Rogers (born August 21, 1971 is an American musical artist. She is a BRIT Award, Q Award and NME Award winner and has been nominated for two Grammy Awards. She has had nine top 10 singles on the UK Singles Chart...

' Milkshake
Milkshake (song)
"Milkshake" is a song by American recording artist Kelis and the lead single from her third studio album, Tasty. The song was released in the United States on August 25, 2003, by Star Trak and Arista Records, and internationally on November 24. It was written and produced by The Neptunes, a duo...

, the heavily phased strings in Jay-Z's "Excuse Me Miss
Excuse Me Miss
"Excuse Me Miss" is a song written and performed by American rapper Jay-Z. It released as a single for his seventh studio album The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse . It was also co-written and produced by The Neptunes, whose Pharrell sings the hook in falsetto voice. The lyrics refer to love at...

 (Remix
Remix
A remix is an alternative version of a recorded song, made from an original version. This term is also used for any alterations of media other than song ....

)", and hard clavi sounds which is used in N.E.R.D's "Lapdance" reminiscent of those associated with rayguns or video game sound effects from the 8-bit
8-bit
The first widely adopted 8-bit microprocessor was the Intel 8080, being used in many hobbyist computers of the late 1970s and early 1980s, often running the CP/M operating system. The Zilog Z80 and the Motorola 6800 were also used in similar computers...

 era. The synthesizers they use include a MicroKorg
MicroKORG
The microKORG is a MIDI-capable virtual analog synthesizer/vocoder from Korg featuring high-quality DSP analog modelling. The synth/keyboard is built in such a way that it is essentially a Korg MS-2000 with programmable step arpeggiator , a less advanced vocoder , lack of motion sequencing The...

, and a Minimoog Voyager
Minimoog Voyager
The Minimoog Voyager or Voyager is a monophonic analog synthesizer, designed by Robert Moog and released in 2002 by Moog Music. The Voyager was modeled after the classic Minimoog synthesizer that was popular in the 1970s, and is meant to be a successor to that instrument.-Design:Like the original...

.

Studio equipment


There has been much speculation about their tools of the trade. For sequencing they use the Korg
Korg
is a Japanese multinational corporation that manufactures electronic musical instruments, audio processors and guitar pedals, recording equipment, and electronic tuners...

 01/W, for drum sounds they use the sampling keyboard Ensoniq ASR-10
Ensoniq ASR-10
The Ensoniq ASR-10 was a sampling keyboard produced by Ensoniq between 1992 and 1994. It is the keyboard model of the ASR-10R rackmount module. It was a follow up product to the very popular Ensoniq EPS and Ensoniq EPS-16+ performance samplers, and was also available with a piano style weighted...

, their sound modules include the Roland
Roland Corporation
is a Japanese manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, electronic equipment and software. It was founded by Ikutaro Kakehashi in Osaka on April 18, 1972, with ¥33 million in capital. In 2005 Roland's headquarters relocated to Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture. Today it has factories in Japan,...

  JV 1080 and JV 2080 and for basslines and filtering they have used the MicroKorg
MicroKORG
The microKORG is a MIDI-capable virtual analog synthesizer/vocoder from Korg featuring high-quality DSP analog modelling. The synth/keyboard is built in such a way that it is essentially a Korg MS-2000 with programmable step arpeggiator , a less advanced vocoder , lack of motion sequencing The...

. They are also well known for using the Korg Triton and incorporating live percussion and acoustic instruments into their music.

Star Trak


The Neptunes' record label, Star Trak Entertainment
Star Trak Entertainment
Star Trak Entertainment is a record label, founded by record producers Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams in 2001. Today it operates as a subsidiary of Universal Music Group, and is distributed by Interscope Records.-Beginnings:...

, includes acts such as Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg
Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. , better known by his stage name Snoop Dogg, is an American rapper, record producer, and actor. Snoop is best known as a rapper in the West Coast hip hop scene, and for being one of Dr. Dre's most notable protégés. Snoop Dogg was a Crip gang member while in high school...

, Slim Thug
Slim Thug
Stayve Jerome Thomas , better known as Slim Thug, Boss Hogg or Thug Boss, is an American rapper. He gained mainstream attention for his contribution to the popular single from rapper Mike Jones, "Still Tippin'"....

 and Robin Thicke
Robin Thicke
Robin Charles Thicke is an Award-winning American R&B singer-songwriter, musician, composer, and actor. Thicke's albums, which he previously released under the moniker Thicke, are noted for their feature of a predominantly R&B sound. Robin Thicke has penned hits for popular artists such as...

. Star Trak artists generally benefit from more frequent production from The Neptunes, however, criticisms include poor promotion and release scheduling. Former artist include (due to parent label disputes) Kelis
Kelis
Kelis Rogers Kelis Rogers Kelis Rogers (born August 21, 1971 is an American musical artist. She is a BRIT Award, Q Award and NME Award winner and has been nominated for two Grammy Awards. She has had nine top 10 singles on the UK Singles Chart...

.

N*E*R*D


The alternative group N*E*R*D is composed of Pharrell, Chad and Shay Haley. It is a backronym
Backronym
A backronym or bacronym is a phrase constructed purposely, such that an acronym can be formed to a specific desired word. Backronyms may be invented with serious or humorous intent, or may be a type of false or folk etymology....

 of No one Ever Really Dies. Their group hits include "Lapdance
Lapdance (song)
"Lapdance" is a song by the American band N*E*R*D from their 2001 album In Search Of.... The song features Vita and rapper Lee Harvey, and was produced by The Neptunes....

", "Rock Star
Rock Star (N.E.R.D song)
"Rock Star" is a song by funk/rock/hip hop group N*E*R*D from their 2001 album In Search Of....The song, the second single off the album, performed better in the U.K. than their previous single "Lapdance", peaking at #15...

" and "She Wants To Move
She Wants to Move
"She Wants to Move" is a single by hip hop and rock group N*E*R*D from their album Fly or Die. It was written by Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo....

". The first two singles came from their debut album In Search Of... released in 2001, while the latter came from their eagerly anticipated follow-up Fly Or Die
Fly or Die
Fly or Die is the second album for rock band N*E*R*D consisting of Pharrell and Chad Hugo of production team the Neptunes and Shay Haley released on March 23, 2004.-Production:...

 in 2004. The band released a third album, Seeing Sounds
Seeing Sounds
Seeing Sounds is the third studio album by American funk rock band N.E.R.D released June 10, 2008 on Star Trak Entertainment and Interscope Records in the United States. After ending their contract with Virgin Records in 2005, the band felt their previous album Fly or Die was too consistent. Using...

, on June 10, 2008 and released their fourth studio album entitled "Nothing", on November 2, 2010.

Pharrell as a solo artist


In 2003, Pharrell released his first solo single, Frontin'
Frontin'
"Frontin", is a 2003 song by producer Pharrell. The title refers to putting up a facade , typically to impress peers. The song features rapper Jay-Z, is written by Pharrell and produced by The Neptunes. At the time he insisted the single was a one-off, and that he was purely a producer and not a...

 featuring Jay-Z. At the time he claimed it was a one-off song, and that he was not a singer in his own right. However, after several delays, Pharrell released his debut solo album on July 24 , 2006, titled "In My Mind
In My Mind (Pharrell album)
-Notes:* A song titled "Mamacita", which featured Reggaeton artist Daddy Yankee was leaked in early 2006 and was supposed to be the third single from the album, but it did not appear on the final track listing, nor was there a video for the song, but it is featured in the movie The Fast and the...

". The first single from the album was a collaboration with Gwen Stefani
Gwen Stefani
Gwen Renée Stefani is an American singer-songwriter and fashion designer. Stefani is the lead vocalist for the rock and ska band No Doubt. Stefani recorded her first solo album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. in 2004. The album was inspired by music of the 1980s, and was a success with sales of over...

 titled "Can I Have It Like That
Can I Have It like That
"Can I Have It Like That" is a song performed by rapper Pharrell Williams featuring Gwen Stefani. It was written and produced by Williams for his 2006 debut album In My Mind, and the song is the opening track. The song's hook comes from a one-line contribution from Stefani, used as part of a...

", released in 2005. The album features numerous guests, including Jay-Z
Jay-Z
Shawn Corey Carter , better known by his stage name Jay-Z, is an American rapper, record producer, entrepreneur, and occasional actor. He is one of the most financially successful hip hop artists and entrepreneurs in America, having a net worth of over $450 million as of 2010...

, Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg
Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. , better known by his stage name Snoop Dogg, is an American rapper, record producer, and actor. Snoop is best known as a rapper in the West Coast hip hop scene, and for being one of Dr. Dre's most notable protégés. Snoop Dogg was a Crip gang member while in high school...

, Nelly
Nelly
Cornell Iral Haynes, Jr. , better known by his stage name Nelly, is an Grammy Award winning American rapper and actor. He has performed with the rap group St. Lunatics since 1993 and signed to Universal Records in 1999. Under Universal, Nelly began his solo career in 2000 with his debut album...

, Slim Thug
Slim Thug
Stayve Jerome Thomas , better known as Slim Thug, Boss Hogg or Thug Boss, is an American rapper. He gained mainstream attention for his contribution to the popular single from rapper Mike Jones, "Still Tippin'"....

, and Kanye West
Kanye West
Kanye Omari West is an American rapper, singer, and record producer. West first rose to fame as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records, where he eventually achieved recognition for his work on Jay-Z's album The Blueprint, as well as hit singles for musical artists including Alicia Keys, Ludacris, and...

.

In recent years, Pharrell and Hugo have written many songs and produced beats separately on different projects, despite production still being credited to The Neptunes in all cases except Pharrell's solo debut In My Mind and Hugo's work on Kenna's New Sacred Cow
New Sacred Cow
New Sacred Cow is the debut album by Kenna, released in 2003. Kenna created something of an underground buzz with the release of his first single "Hell Bent" in 2001. The album was leaked to the internet over a year before its final release, as it was delayed by record company politics. "Freetime"...

. Notable examples include the Clipse's 2006 release Hell Hath No Fury
Hell Hath No Fury
Hell Hath No Fury is the critically acclaimed second album of Virginia hip hop duo Clipse, released on December 7, 2006 in the U.S. and in November of 2006 in some parts of Europe. Like the group's debut album, Hell Hath No Fury is produced by The Neptunes. The guest appearances are limited to...

,& 2009 release of Til The Casket Drops, where Pharrell or P.Williams is the only member of the duo who receives writing credits, as well as N.E.R.D.'s 2008 album Seeing Sounds
Seeing Sounds
Seeing Sounds is the third studio album by American funk rock band N.E.R.D released June 10, 2008 on Star Trak Entertainment and Interscope Records in the United States. After ending their contract with Virgin Records in 2005, the band felt their previous album Fly or Die was too consistent. Using...

, where nine songs are written solely by Pharrell and 3 are written by both Pharrell and Chad (Hugo received credits for additional keyboards and horns). Hugo, meanwhile, co-wrote the majority of Kenna's 2007 album Make Sure They See My Face
Make Sure They See My Face
Make Sure They See My Face is the second album by Kenna.When the album was first announced in 2005, it was named Make Sure They See My Face. Then, in 2006, it was shortened to just Face. Since then it has returned to the original, longer title. The album was co-produced by Chad Hugo of The Neptunes...

, with the exception of two songs co-written by Pharrell and two written by Kenna alone. Basic speculation has to do with the fact that Pharrell now resides in Miami and Chad still resides in Virginia, but according to Pharrell, the two are very much still a team, despite recent allegations that the duo were splitting ways back in October 2008. The most recent project to receive substantial writing input from both Pharrell and Hugo has been Common
Common (rapper)
Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. , better known by his stage name Common , is an American hip-hop artist and actor....

's Universal Mind Control
Universal Mind Control
-Chart positions:In its first week, Universal Mind Control sold 81,663 in the United States.As of December 31, 2008, the album has sold 211,781.- Release history :-External links:* at Metacritic*...

 while Asher Roth
Asher Roth
Asher Paul Roth is an American rapper.-Early life:Asher Roth was born and raised in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, a small town about 20 miles northeast of Philadelphia. His mother, Elizabeth , is a yoga instructor, and his father, David Roth, is the executive director of a design firm...

 recently confirmed that he was colloborating with both on his latest album.

Watch The Throne collaboration


As speculation began to surface that Jay-Z and Kanye West were collaborating on an album titled Watch the Throne, Pharrell expressed great interest to work with them on it. Although Hugo was busy with Kenna's sophomore album, he too expressed interest. Finally, during production of the album, Jay-Z and Kanye West paid a visit to Pharrell's Hovercraft Studio in Virginia. This was West's first collaboration with The Neptunes as a formal production duo. (He worked with Pharrell on his album In My Mind.) What began as simple sampling on the Ensonique ASR-10 turned into an eight hour studio session that resulted in the rap duo's second single "Gotta Have It". It presented heavy bass and the signature Neptunes snare claps. Pharrell added eccentric hi-hats to maintain consistency between the album's wild eccentric rap flow. The final piece to the track was West's sampling of an Egyptian song's female vocals. West earned production credits on the track, with The Neptunes earning primary credits. "Gotta Have It" failed to impact the radio as well as its predecessor "Niggas in Paris". Still, Jay-z claims its his favorite track on the album, citing a positive unique synergy between him and Pharrell. West often remarks that he wanted to work with The Neptunes, and the two plan to collaborate again on West's next album.

Awards and nominations


The duo has received numerous awards, such as from the Grammy Awards, where they have been nominated every year from 2004 to 2007. The Neptunes have received three Grammy Awards: "Producer of the Year, Non-Classical
Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical
The Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical has been awarded since 1975. The award had several minor name changes:*from 1975 to 1977, the award was known as Best Producer of the Year...

", "Best Pop Vocal Album" for Justified
Justified (album)
Justified is the debut album by American pop singer Justin Timberlake. Released during the hiatus of the group *NSYNC, the album signaled Timberlake's desire to craft a more mature image than that of a "boy band member". The album features guest performances by Timbaland, Clipse, Bubba Sparxxx, and...

, and "Best Rap Song" for "Money Maker
Money Maker
"Money Maker" is the first single from Ludacris's fifth album Release Therapy.The song was released to the radio on July 17, 2006. The song is Ludacris' take on the 1961 Elmore James blues song Shake Your Moneymaker. It was produced by The Neptunes and features Pharrell. The song was written by...

". Overall, The Neptunes have received five awards from 17 nominations.

Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Awards


The Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Awards
Billboard Music Award
The Billboard Music Award is an honor given by Billboard magazine, the preeminent publication covering the music business. The Billboard Music Awards show had been held annually in December until it went dormant in 2007, but it returned in May 2011...

 are sponsored by Billboard
Billboard (magazine)
Billboard is a weekly American magazine devoted to the music industry, and is one of the oldest trade magazines in the world. It maintains several internationally recognized music charts that track the most popular songs and albums in various categories on a weekly basis...

 magazine and is held annually in December.
|-
|rowspan="2"| 2002 ||rowspan="2"| The Neptunes || Songwriter of the Year ||
|-
| Producer of the Year ||
|-
|rowspan="2"| 2003 ||rowspan="2"| The Neptunes || Songwriter of the Year ||
|-
| Producer of the Year ||
|-
| 2004 || The Neptunes || Producer of the Year ||
|-
|rowspan="2"| 2009 || The Neptunes || Producer of the Decade||

Grammy Awards


The Grammy Award
Grammy Award
A Grammy Award — or Grammy — is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry...

s are awarded annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc., known variously as The Recording Academy or NARAS, is a U.S. organization of musicians, producers, recording engineers and other recording professionals dedicated to improving the quality of life and cultural condition for music and its...

 of the United States.
|-
|rowspan="6"| || The Neptunes || Producer of the Year, Non-Classical
Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical
The Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical has been awarded since 1975. The award had several minor name changes:*from 1975 to 1977, the award was known as Best Producer of the Year...

 ||
|-
| Justified
Justified (album)
Justified is the debut album by American pop singer Justin Timberlake. Released during the hiatus of the group *NSYNC, the album signaled Timberlake's desire to craft a more mature image than that of a "boy band member". The album features guest performances by Timbaland, Clipse, Bubba Sparxxx, and...

 || Best Pop Vocal Album ||
|-
| "Frontin'
Frontin'
"Frontin", is a 2003 song by producer Pharrell. The title refers to putting up a facade , typically to impress peers. The song features rapper Jay-Z, is written by Pharrell and produced by The Neptunes. At the time he insisted the single was a one-off, and that he was purely a producer and not a...

" || Best Rap/Sung Collaboration ||
|-
|rowspan="2"| "Beautiful
Beautiful (Snoop Dogg song)
"Beautiful" is a 2003 single by Snoop Dogg from his album Paid Tha Cost To Be Da Bo$$. The song was produced by The Neptunes and features Charlie Wilson and Pharrell Williams. The music video was filmed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The single peaked at #6 on the U.S...

" || Best Rap/Sung Collaboration ||
|-
| Best Rap Song ||
|-
| "Excuse Me Miss
Excuse Me Miss
"Excuse Me Miss" is a song written and performed by American rapper Jay-Z. It released as a single for his seventh studio album The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse . It was also co-written and produced by The Neptunes, whose Pharrell sings the hook in falsetto voice. The lyrics refer to love at...

" || Best Rap Song ||
|-
|rowspan="2"| ||rowspan="2"| "Drop It Like It's Hot
Drop It Like It's Hot
"Drop It Like It's Hot" is a 2004 rap number-one hit single by Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell. Snoop performs the chorus and the second and third verses , while Pharrell performs the first verse....

" || Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group ||
|-
| Best Rap Song ||
|-
| || The Neptunes || Producer of the Year ||
|-
|rowspan="2"| || "Money Maker
Money Maker
"Money Maker" is the first single from Ludacris's fifth album Release Therapy.The song was released to the radio on July 17, 2006. The song is Ludacris' take on the 1961 Elmore James blues song Shake Your Moneymaker. It was produced by The Neptunes and features Pharrell. The song was written by...

" || Best Rap Song ||
|-
| In My Mind || Best Rap Album ||