We honor the legendary production duo of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, better known as The Neptunes in the fifth update in our Hip-Hop’s Mater Class playlist.

The Neptunes unique production helped elevate the careers of hip-hop heavyweights such as The Clipse, Jay-Z, and Snoop Dogg. Tracks like “Grindin'”, “I Just Wanna Love You” and “Drop It Like It’s Hot” were respective staples each artist’s’ discography. When the beat drops in every one of those tracks your ears immediately perk up.

Pharrell summed it up perfectly when he spoke to Time Magazine about the value The Neptunes provide with their production, “Taking somebody from A to B is cool, but when we produce we want to take people from A to D, to challenge their artistic natures, their image, everything.”

The Neptunes’ sound isn’t over-produced. It’s rather minimal. From the tongue clicks in Snoop’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” or the “Brrrrrrrr!” of Birdman’s “What Happened to That Boy?” or the infectious bongo drums in Slim Thug’s “I Ain’t Heard of That (Remix)”, there is always something to clue in on as a listener.

What makes their careers even more impressive is Pharrell and Chad continued to evolve their sound. The duo joined forces with Shay Haley to form N*E*R*D. Pharrell spoke with Vibe about crafting a differnent sound with N*E*R*D, “The Neptunes are what we do, me and Chad producing, being the Technicolor to people’s ideas and thoughts. N*E*R*D is who we are, our lives and experiences. We just want to be more creative and pull some shit out from the left and create a whole new era”.

Below, we’ve compiled 20-tracks that capture the evolution of The Neptunes production. Genius made a great observation about Pharrell’s signature “four-count start” in his production. See if you can hear it!

Hip-hop’s Master Class – Update 005 Track List

  1. The Neptunes – “Intro”
  2. Snoop Dogg Feat. Stevie Wonder – “California Roll”
  3. Pharrell Feat. Jay-Z – “Frontin’”
  4. N.E.R.D. – “Run to the Sun”
  5. Rick Ross Feat. Elijah Blake – “Presidential”
  6. Fabolous – “Tit 4 Tat”
  7. Birdman Feat. Clipse – “What Happened to That Boy”
  8. Pusha T Feat. Tyler the Creator – “Trouble on My Mind”
  9. Clipse – “Grindin’”
  10. N.O.R.E. Feat. Pharrell – “Nothin’”
  11. Fam-Lay – “Rock N’ Roll”
  12. Slim Thug Feat. Bun B – “I Ain’t Heard of That (Remix)”
  13. Clipse – “Mr. Me Too”
  14. N.E.R.D. – “She Wants to Move”
  15. Nelly – “Flap Your Wings”
  16. Overdoz – “Last Kiss”
  17. Diddy Feat. The Neptunes – “Diddy”
  18. T.I. Feat. Beenie Man – “I’m Serious”
  19. Snoop Dogg Feat. Pharrell – “From Tha Chuuuch to Da Palace”
  20. Ludacris – “Southern Hospitality”

[Photo Credit The Fader]

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