Forget the doom and gloom — with their latest album, Nothing, hip-hop group N.E.R.D is lightening up and aiming to cheer up a world plagued with violence and poverty.
“There’s so much negativity in the air right now and I felt like, when this album came out, we wanted it to be like a flower to a sweet girl — to the world — because there’s so much negativity in the air, there’s so much war,” explained music producer extraordinaire Pharrell Williams.
“We’re killing our kids and the other kids that we don’t kill are killing themselves because they’re being bullied and I was like, the world kind of needed a Hallmark card a little bit.”
That doesn’t mean creating the album was an easy process. The group initially recorded 20 tracks before scrapping them and starting again from scratch.
“Those particular records didn’t sound like a true representation of what N.E.R.D is about,” said group member Shay Haley. “I thought a few of the records were good, a lot of them I didn’t really care for, some I personally hated. I would literally go and have some heated battles with [Pharrell] about how I think we should take a different direction. It was a frustrating time for us. We weren’t necessarily in sync.”
The lost songs will, however, eventually have an audience once the group can agree on what to do with them.
“We’ve sold some of the records already,” Williams said.
“I want to leak some though,” chimed in Haley. “I think some are worthy of being leaked.”
“But I think that might be the demise of our friendship,” he responded to Williams, laughing.
“It wouldn’t be the demise of our friendship,” retorted Williams, “but I would definitely fight him back.”