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Pharrell - In My Mind

2006-09-05 15:17
Pharrell's long-awaited debut album is so good you'll never want to delete the track list from your iPod. The N.E.R.D. frontman and one half of the dynamic producing duo The Neptunes is at the top of his game. With his eclectic musical style, Pharrell has found a way of successfully channeling his love of hip hop and R&B. A thuggish Skateboard P shoots his mouth off about Ice Creams, the Billionaire Boys Club and his view on life in general on the hip hop tracks while a more vulnerable Mr Williams lyricizes about life lost, girls found and everything else in between on the R&B tracks.

Pharrell manages to break away from the alternative rock sound of N.E.R.D. and the commercial pop, hip hop and R&B produced by The Neptunes.

In My Mind not only offers reflective lyrics, but is packed with tricky drum lines, Spanish influences, tailored 80s break beats, repetitive guitar progressions and riffs. It can all be summed up as a 'nod ya head' album.

Kicking off with last summer's anthem "Can I Have It Like That", the tone for the album is set. Hot. It's always great listening to an old favourite after deleting it from your playlist because it received waaaay too much airplay on SA radio waves. The infectious guitar riff on "Raspy Sh*t" and marching band drums on "How Does It Feel" bares testimony to why Pharrell has been one of the most successful producers of the past decade. He knows what works, and what doesn't.

On the biographical "Best Friend" he 'lets it out', but the following track really typifies what Pharrell calls Rolls Royce music. The subtle collaboration with Jamie Cullum on "You Can Do It Too" provides an idea of the eclectic producer's wide-ranging musical style. The thematic guitars on "Keep It Playa" are reminiscent of Beyonce's "Check Up On It", while the classic piano chords on "Angel" combined with comical lyrics ('She got an ass like a loaf of bread, make you want a slice') makes the second single release off In My Mind a great sing-a-long.

And what would a Pharrell album be without one or two collaborations with hip hop heavyweights Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z? Fault cannot be found with Snoop's laid-back West Coast style, but it's the collab with Jay-Z on "Young Girl" that might get the rumour mills grinding. Is Jay-Z finally offering comment on that rumoured fling he had with Rihanna that's caused Beyonce to retaliate with her new single "Ring The Alarm"?

However, the collaborations don't end there. In My Mind also features Slim Thug, Pusha T, Nelly and Kanye West.

Unfortunately there's only one track that cannot be taken seriously. Pharrell pulls a Babyface on "Take It Off", with lyrics like "I'm a master, baby wit'cha bra" and "Damn, that booty’s so soft", which offer nothing but sidesplitting laughter.

Skateboard P has for years been pushing the stylistic limits in the hip hop and R&B industry, and by the looks of In My Mind, will continue to do so. Yessurr!

- Megan Kakora
This is Pharrell's world and if you don't pay attention, you might as well chuck the CD in the bin or give it to someone who will truly appreciate those hidden messages masked by seemingly straightforward lyrics. To really grasp those innuendos In My Mind has to be listened to more than once.

What to read next: Kalahari

Dreyer 2006-09-06 12:09 PM
Supah kewl This album is very nice with the freshest beats and everything else...can't get enough. A must buy if your not dead.
godwin 2006-09-10 11:02 AM
pharrell soundz good cant wait to an copy

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