Pharrell always described his band N.E.R.D as a side project, but mostly explained his reason behind forming the band was not only so he could express his love of rock to the world, but so he could get his legendary producer duo, The Neptunes signed as artists. However, N.E.R.D had some pretty epic anthems in the early, and late 2000s and people often loved Pharrell’s work with the group as much as they loved The Neptunes.
In an interview, Pharrell once explained that because The Neptunes, up until 2004, were not recording and releasing any original music but merely producing for other artists, the label could only provide them with a production deal. So in 2004, he formed N.E.R.D, and they recorded Fly Or Die, handed it to the label, and got signed as artists because they had an original product.
N.E.R.D is comprised of Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo and Shay Haley, and in conjunction with other artists such as Kid Cudi, Kanye West and the band The Gorillaz explored the realms of alternative hip-hop in the 2000s and how it could be fused with rock to create new interesting sounds. One of N.E.R.D’s most recognisable songs is their 2001 single ‘Lap Dance’ featuring Vita and Lee Harvey.
The song was more popular in the UK than in the US, where it did not enter the Billboard Hot 100. However, it is still a highly recognisable track with a distinct melody that has become a classic and is still getting played in clubs to this day. In 2004, while in the UK for the BRIT Awards, N.E.R.D put on a star-studded live performance at the Hammersmith Apollo. As well as Williams, Hugo and Hayley, the band were joined onstage by Justin Timberlake, Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas and the UK’s very own Dizzee Rascal.
During the performance, N.E.R.D gave fans ‘Provider’ as well as their hit single ‘Run To The Sun’. Furthermore, Justin Timberlake performed the Neptunes-produced track ‘Señorita’. Dizzee Rascal performed a freestyle over ‘Lap Dance’ for his home crowd. Overall it was a legendary performance. Captured on camera by MTV you can watch the event in the video below.