Reviewing an underrated gem of a rap album from N.E.R.D

Reviewing an underrated gem of a rap album from N.E.R.D

By Anthony Barrera, Reporter



Listening to N.E.R.D’s first album In The Search of… in the comfort of their home, fans will realize that Pharrell’s old work is exceptionally good, but even today, he is still the goat when it comes to producing.

N.E.R.D (No-one Ever Really Dies) is a rock/hip hop group consisting of the Neptunes members Chad Hugo, Pharrell Williams and their childhood friend Shay Haley. They released their first studio album, In the Search of… in 2002 which also won the second annual shortlist music award. The group has five studio albums, the most recent being No One Ever Really Dies, which was released in 2017. N.E.R.D is currently signed to Star Trak Entertainment, a record label founded by Williams and Hugo (The Neptunes). Interestingly, they also produced a song for the film SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (“Squeeze Me”).

In The Search of… is a good album for people who want to get into the Pharrell Williams rap game.

The In The Search of… album starts strong with the first song “Lapdance”, having a rock tone – a dark tone to put it best – while Williams raps over the guitar and drums playing. In the next song, “Things are Getting Better” is a drastic change from the dark tone of “Lapdance” to a more upbeat tone. Williams’ hook with his vocals is what makes this song great, and makes present day rap albums look uninspired with their seemingly generic beat/same tone.

Moving forward, songs like “Brain” and “Truth or Dare” are other excellent songs with same dark tone in the beat, all a result of the drums and guitar used. “Brain” is a personal favorite song in this already great album with its guitar notes and slow and melancholic tone. “Rockstar” is the most “rock” sounding track on the whole album which is what makes the song so good. It is unique (in a good way), with insane drums, providing a weird Nirvana-like (the band) feel with Williams’ vocals.

The last song, “Stay Together”, has a weak ending with its weird and plain beat, but Williams’ and Haley’s lyrics are what makes it decent. There is not much to dislike about this album; it is just a good album. The instrumentals are very strong and complement the rap. Oddly enough, when albums include a mix of rock and rap, those two usually do not go well together, and yet it is that combination that makes In The Search of… unique: the album manages to mix two genres and make it sound natural.

Overall N.E.R.D’s In Search of… is an excellent album to begin with for people trying to get into Williams’ work. Though not as good as Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy or MF DOOM’s Mm…Food, In The Search of… is still a good album due to the combination of rock and rap, the Nirvana-esque vibe, and Williams’ vocals.

And, for those who already see how good this album is, just wait until Williams’ In My Mind album.