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Either Pharrell Williams is music's most humble hitmaker or, like he says in his solo debut smash, he's just "Frontin.' " In addition to his and Neptunes partner Chad Hugo's penchant for producing Grammy-caliber beats for everybody from Justin to Nelly to Britney — not to mention his infamous falsetto hook-crooning for stars like Snoop and Jay-Z — the Virginia duo mined gold when they founded their Star Trak label and released an LP of their own. Neptunes Presents ... Clones recently debuted at #1 on the Billboard albums chart.

MTV News' Shaheem Reid caught up with Pharrell recently and got him to talk trucker hats and new reality shows ... and also to confess why his inner circle of friends laughs at him.  


MTV: Just a little while ago on "TRL," you said that Michael Jackson was a person that you admired and most wanted to work with.

Pharrell: Michael is ... c'mon, it's Michael Jackson! Carson [Daly] and I were also talking about a reality show. Like, me and Michael doing the album and then filming it the whole time. If the Osbournes could do it, why not show us making great music? Michael Jackson would be crazy!

MTV: A couple of years ago we talked right after the MTV Video Music Awards and you said seeing Britney Spears perform the song you produced for her, "I'm a Slave 4 U," was a defining moment for the Neptunes. Since then, what have been some other defining moments for you guys?

  Pharrell featuring Jay-Z
"Frontin' "
The Neptunes Present ... Clones
(Arista)
Pharrell: It's always a big defining moment. This [Clones] album coming out is a defining moment. Because we've done so much production for other people, to be able to come out on our label for us is a great give back. Then, "Frontin' " doing what it's doing ... I know I've said it a million times before, but sh--, I can't believe it's doing what it's doing! I only expected on the high end to get 2,500 [radio] spins. If I would have gotten 500 spins then I would have been cool. It's getting 7,500 spins. It's really blown up. It's really happening.

MTV: You're astounded by the success of "Frontin', " but what about all the fashion trends you've been setting? Everyone from Jay-Z to Justin Timberlake to J. Lo is wearing the trucker hats or fatigues shorts that've been signature marks of yours.

Pharrell: Yeah, it bugs me out, but it is what it is. I'm completely thankful and it's dope, man. The girls are even more flattering. They walk out with the [Nike] Dunks like, "Look." I remember when Dunks were really expensive 'cause you couldn't get them [in the U.S.] and you had to go on the Internet and pay $200. It's crazy just to know that they would ever copy anything that I wear 'cause in my world, my friends are pointing at me like, "What the hell are you doing?" I just do what I do. It's not something that should be revered as something that's great.

MTV: You and your partner, Chad Hugo, have probably been two of the most revered producers of the last few years. There haven't been many producers to equal your success across the board in hip-hop, R&B, pop and rock all at the same time. Do you guys ever have a chance to just sit back and reflect on your accomplishments?

Pharrell: You can't pay attention to that. That's cancerous. 'Cause then you start believing it and your sh-- gets weak. You gotta always think, "There's more to do." You can't ever look over your shoulder and be like, "You know what I did?," 'cause you didn't do it — you just did what every other artist did and the people embraced it and made it what it was. It was the people.

MTV: The people will probably be giving their stamp of approval to the record "Lose Your Soul," which is a collaboration with P. Diddy, Lenny Kravitz and Loon and the next single off the soundtrack to "Bad Boys II." What was it like working with Diddy and Kravitz, two other acclaimed producers?

Pharrell: That was interesting, man. I look up to Puff and I definitely look up to Lenny too ... it's just like, two people, the best of both worlds. Puff runs the R&B, hip-hop and pop world. Lenny runs the rock world. So for me to be on with two of those legendary guys who still are humongous, the sh-- is dope. Plus, for it to be my first real time ever rhyming on a track ... I didn't think the song would be huge, so [I thought] nobody would necessarily hear me. This song is actually picking up.

MTV: Well, for real, you know that right now people want to hear everything with your name attached to it. You can't sneak in a song here and there anymore.

Pharrell: That's scary, but thanks. I love what I do, I love my job. There's no better feeling than just going in and just working with someone and what comes out is something that the world knows about. I can't believe it, still to this day. You never get used to that. You get used to it when you feel like you're an artist. I don't know, the artist thing is not me. I love making music, though. I love playing. The keyboard is my journal.

MTV: Everybody on the ... Clones album — from Snoop Dogg to Nelly to N.O.R.E. — is somebody you've worked with before and seem to have a cool relationship with. Could you ever work with somebody you don't really like?

Pharrell: I guess you could. I just happen to admire everyone that we work with. We don't really work with everybody.

 


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 Pharrell featuring Jay-Z
"Frontin' "
The Neptunes Present ... Clones
(Arista)



 Britney Spears
"I'm a Slave 4 U" (live)
Britney
(Jive)



 Jay-Z
"Excuse Me Miss"
The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse
(Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)



 Busta Rhymes featuring P. Diddy & Pharrell
"Pass The Courvoisier (Part II)"
Genesis
(J/Flipmode)



 Rosco P. Coldchain featuring Pharrell
"Delinquent"
Hazardous Life
(Arista)



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