Pharrell Willams and Chad Hugo, a.k.a The Neptunes, can single-handedly be credited with changing the sound of an entire genre of music. In the late 90’s the two producers/musicians ushered in a sound of hip hop that has been dominate for the last ten years. Their off-kilter, stripped-down electronic funk melody is often imitated, but never duplicated. The duo was nominated for at least one Grammy from 2004 to 2007, although only winning three during that span. They were also nominated for six billboard awards, respectfully bringing home two.
The two met in Virgina Beach at a summer camp for the gifted and talented (band camp). Pharrell was a drummer and Chad played the saxophone. In 1990 the duo formed an R&B type band called The Neptunes, which consisted of long time friends friends Shay and Mike Etheridge. The Neptunes landed a deal with Teddy Riley even before they were high school graduates. Pharrell, who was already a musical stand out, wrote a verse for the popular group Wreckx-N-Effect’s and the hit song “Rump Shaker” landed itself on billboards hot 100 in 1992.
Production became their biggest money maker and in the late 90’s their distinctive sound help artists like Mase, SWV, Total, and N.O.R.E become popular players in the entertainment industry. They then went on to work artists like Kelis, The Clipse, and Jay-z, which only broadened their reputation as the best producers this era of hip-hop has ever scene.
With three N.E.R.D albums, a clothing line (Billionaire Boys Club), and record label (Star Trak Entertainment), the two have positioned themselves as serious hip-hop moguls. What makes it worse is they’re just getting started.
With a discography too long for typing, sky is the limit for the estimated $155 million dollar men.