Five Best Songs from N.E.R.D.’s Debut Album ‘In Search of…’
By 2001, the production team of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, otherwise known as The Neptunes, established themselves as go-to producers in the pop, R&B and hip-hop worlds. Having crafted chart-topping hits for Jay Z, Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg, Mystikal, Kelis, Britney Spears, the dynamic duo were eager to show fans another side of their musical repertoire.
On Aug. 6, 2001, the Neptunes’ released their first project under the guise of N.E.R.D. (a backronym for No One Ever Really Dies) with their debut album, In Search Of..., via Virgin Records. The title itself was inspired by Pharrell’s fascination with space travel and his love for the cult ‘70s television series of the same name, hosted by the late actor and theorist Leonard Nimoy.
The 13-song collection also introduced listeners to an unknown member of the Neptunes crew named Shad Haley who is featured prominently on the cover playing video games on his couch. Sonically, N.E.R.D. pushed the envelope with soaring rock guitars, crashing drums, soft pianos, and other instruments that would be embraced by both rap and rock fans alike.
Essentially, the album showed that Pharrell, Chad and Shad had range as sonic creators. They weren't just hip-hop producers, the trio had no musical boundaries when it came to their production.
N.E.R.D.'s In Search Of... boasts a sprawling mix of rap, rock, funk and soft rock with a great deal of no f---s to give attitude when it came to their lyrics.
On the album's 15th anniversary, we take a look back at N.E.R.D.'s audacious debut and we selected the five best tracks from the project. Peep our list below.