'This Isn't Music It's A Movement': Pharrell Discusses New N.E.R.D Album, Police Brutality In New Interview
With N.E.R.D‘s new album slated to drop before the end of this week, Pharrell recently spoke with The Guardian behind the inspiration of the new project, as well as how the alternative rap-rock band ended up reuniting.
Titled No_One Ever Really Dies, the album serves as N.E.R.D’s first in seven years, with the project speaking on the current political and racial climate in America. Such is the case with one of the album’s songs, “Don’t Don’t Do It,” which was inspired by the shooting of Keith Scott in North Carolina in 2016.
“This was something I saw on the news. We have that crazy, crazy man [running the country] but also they have police that shoot unarmed black people the whole time. It rains and they shoot black people,” Pharrell said. “I hid the story in something that’s so jubilant because that way you won’t miss the message.”
In the interview Pharrell also touches upon N.E.R.D’s past, speaking about how Nothing, the album that precedes No_One, was a trying time for the group.
“That’s when we started losing ourselves. The label wanted uptempo records and we acquiesced,” Pharrell said. “I was super-depressed. It was a tough fucking time…but I feel like we’re in the middle of the sun right now.”
As the interview then shifts to Pharrell talking about feminism and womankind, the artist then talks about looking back at past songs he’s written both a part of N.E.R.D and as a solo artist that are considered sexist and problematic, and learning from his experiences.
“People might say: ‘Oh what about this song?’ Yep, you’re right. I recognize now. I get it,” Pharrell said. “It was fun to me at the time, but the earth changes and the rules change. We have to remember that. Context is important.”
Read the interview in its entirety here.