I have a complicated history with hip-hop. When it began to really swell in popularity in the ’90s, I wasn’t allowed to listen to it. Much of what the hip-hop community deems its classics passed me by (like the Pharcyde) while I was busy listening to more parent-approved music. Once I grew older, I began to work my way backwards and form my own opinion of the art form and its artists. I say all this to underline the fact that I am a relatively new fan of hip-hop, nothing close to a hip-hop head.
Yesterday, in the middle of Jigga-filled YouTube playlist, I realized that I do indeed, like true hip-hop heads, have a favorite MC and producer. That would be Jay-Z and Pharrell (with The Neptunes), respectively. I paired the two of them together because, looking through their combined discography, I love their collaborations. As Jay-Z said in “Change Clothes”, “He and the boy Pharrell make beautiful music.” Pharrell’s production involves a lot of spare dream beats and funky guitar riffs that complement Jay’s confident delivery. But the magic really happens when Pharrell lends his breezy alto vocals to a project, often imbuing the tracks with his own Curtis Mayfield-inspired flavor. I sound like a fan girl, right? (Giggle).
If you don’t believe me, here are a few of my favorite songs featuring the dynamic duo of Pharrell and Jay-Z.
“Change Clothes” (from The Black Album)
“Excuse Me Miss” (from The Blueprint: The Gift and the Curse)
Only for the grown and sexy.
“I Just Wanna Love U (Give It to Me) (from The Dynasty: Roc La Familia)
“I Know” (from American Gangster
And my personal favorite, whenever I need to feel a little more brassy about myself…”So Ambitious” (from The Blueprint 3) (gotta love those horns!)