NEW YORK — Even though Neptunes member Pharrell Williams doesn't have the kind of soulful voice that's been honed through years of singing in the church, his club beats and high-pitched hook crooning have helped him shut down the music charts as well as the airwaves.
Because of this, it seems inevitable that the Virginia producer, whose popularity and visibility grow by the day, would soon drop a solo album, right?
"That's yet to be determined," Pharrell said Thursday night after producing and singing on a new track for ODB (see "Ol' Dirty Lays Down Track With Pharrell Before Turning Into A Pumpkin"). "I don't see myself as a singer. I just try to express myself. I feel better and more comfortable with N.E.R.D., but I'm glad [my new single] 'Frontin' ' is getting [a warm ] reception from everybody."
"Frontin'," which features Jay-Z, is one of the lead cuts from the Neptunes' compilation LP, Star Trak Presents Clones, due this summer. The track showcases the famed producer taking the lead, singing most of the verses while Jigga guest stars with a short rap.
"I know that I'm carrying on/ Never mind if I'm showing off/ I was just frontin', " Williams sings. "You know I want you, baby/ I'm ready to bet it all/ Unless you don't care at all/ You know I want ya."
Pharrell made it clear that he is definitely not frontin' on the song, and his real life feelings have spilled over into his music. He has a void he needs to fill.
"The only thing I need now in my life, man, is ... my wife," Pharrell explained. "... I'm close to Jesus. I got the job that I want. My mom and dad are happy. My little brother is a pro out there in San Diego, skating for two different companies, [and] my baby brother is doing well in school. Wherever you are, baby, it's written already. Let's find each other. Let's steal away, take the kids out of school and go to Disney World. I'm there now."
Pharrell has his friends and peers seconding his emotions, at least on wax. Snoop Dogg's first real love song, "Beautiful," took over the airwaves, as has the Jay-Z track "Excuse Me Miss." As we all know, Pharrell produced and sang about being with Ms. Right on both records.
"We need to get to love," said Pharrell, who is also planning to produce songs on Jay-Z's upcoming Black Album. "There's a lot of violence out there."
Pharrell and the fellas aren't the only ones talking about relationships over Neptunes beats. Clones will also feature a track from the rapper sometimes known as "God's Son" along with his girlfriend.
"We got this new Kelis album coming out," Pharrell disclosed. "It's called Tasty. She's gonna kill it. Her and Nas did a song called 'Popular Thug' together [for the Clones album]. They're making some great statements about themselves. It's incredible. We got a Clipse album coming out [later this year], Hell Hath No Fury. I'm excited. This is so great, man."
Besides Nas, Kelis, Jay-Z and Dirt McGirt (a.k.a. ODB), Star Trak Presents Clones will also feature Busta Rhymes, Super Cat, Spymob, the Clipse, Fam Lay, Roscoe P. Coldchain and Usher, among others.
The video for "Frontin' " will be shot in Miami May 21 with Jay-Z.