Is it Just a Stunt?
I remember my first N.E.R.D concert when only a handful of knew them. From the Neptune’s, emerged the funky twist of a beat, and a young Pharrell with a band... Yes band behind him that generated a class or genre if you will, reaping pure rhythmic pleasure to your eardrums. It was like every beat, note, bridge, and hook, took a hold of your musical format, and set it on fire.
I remember looking for any album I could. Imports, full albums, singles, anything I could find on vinyl that I could throw into my already diverse yet wobbly set at the Art Bar on Sunday nights.
At the time, DJing and working as an EMT was my life. A few friends of mine would hear a new track, better yet an album or find a show they were going to perform. It was like an orgasmic explosion inside my head, already still “bouncing around, bouncing around, bouncing” from the last drop.
My 30lb iPod maxed with N.E.R.D...then...nothing. From a ridiculous show at the White River Amphitheater, to a stellar show downtown at The Moore Theater with the Black Eyed Peas. Each day seemed to bring more N.E.R.D. Out of no where, like waiting in line for your favorite ride, oh my to be turned away last minute do to a mechanical failure...everything just stopped
For almost a year, nothing. Then, there it was. Four tickets to see N.E.R.D open...yes I said open, as in the first act for Kanye in Seattle. Of course in my mind I was excited to see Kayne, truly though, I was there to hear what I loved in N.E.R.D. The bass, organ, sly beats, and Pharrell, yes Skate Board P finally drop that Hip Hop funk on the thousands who had become follow and recognize Star Trak. I was shocked at the amount of Trakkers that were there. You can only imagine my dismay to see the start of the N.E.R.D set pushed all the way to the front of the stage, like a local group just picked up for a fill in. Now my mood worsened as Pharrell began, 15 minutes in, he had no voice to continue. Thus no more N.E.R.D.
Feeling like my favorite pair of Nike’s had been scuffed, torn, spit on and drenched in mud, it seemed N.E.R.D never step foot back on stage.
I never understood what happened until like so many other amazing groups, rumors of a record label “mishap” landed them on the dark shelf and only now available on the import LP sleeve of old imports.
It truly felt like forever until Pharrell the producer began to reemerged as just Pharrell. No N.E.R.D, no bending of triple style rhythmic manipulation into N.E.R.D.
As the solo Pharrell still did his thing and hit every billboard, soundtrack, guest track work, and now TV star judge for the ever popular “The Voice.” No where waiting to bust out with Ready or Die...N.E.R.D, the name and the group had never existed.
Years floated by, and nothing. Pharrell was all over the place unleashing his poetic genius on soundtracks and hooks...but nothing else.
On one of my many sleepless nights I am looking for new or artists who are “local” and just haven’t made that two foot stance on stage, a very distinct sound came from my headphones before the sun came up. That synthesized piano and just of key beat kicks. Immediately I look at the art work and amongst God’s worst picture of a cracked up, fake nickle plate grill read. Single “Lemonade.” I scanned the art and in fact there were the letters I had given up on as an inspiration to true artistry...N.E.R.D.
As fast as I could I searched every music service and site for their come back EP, LP, Single, shit even a game show intro...nothing
Then in an off shoot article from some D&D insight board, rumors and posters began to show up, pasted like a Tuesday night free show in light polls, subway decks, even bathroom stalls, the same grill appeared with a N.E.R.D.imprint as to say, yes we are back, yet no announcement, no advertising of any sorts the clue sat idle for a short time.
One minute, Jay-Z is plastered on every musical media outlet with millions spent on advertisement of his new what ever. The Album cover of what N (no one) E (ever) R (really). D (dies), inked on a tongue cover appears in the Apple new Music menu, with the first time I have ever been so happy to see a dollar amount next to it.
So it’s true, N.E.R.D, no one ever really dies after years of nothing drops. Immediately I am all over this album and breaking out my Star Trak, Bape Shoes ready for the best album and collaboration in years!
Have you listened to the New N.E.R.D Album?
Talk about it!