The acronym N.E.R.D. stands for “No One Ever Really Dies,” but childhood friends Chad Hugo, Pharrell Williams, and Shay Haley have certainly used their band to proudly emphasize a range of inspirations.
Before this intermittent side project took shape, Hugo and Williams had established themselves as The Neptunes, giants in the field of pop production with hits for hardcore rappers, smooth R&B crooners, and teen pop groups. N.E.R.D. allowed the duo to take centre stage while following creative impulses that have included rough-housing funk rock, introspective bossa nova, and nutty quasi-orchestral pop, all filtered through a hybrid hip-hop/skate-punk aesthetic.