It’s not often that a group of creative musicians can come together and make a lasting name for themselves without sticking to a specific style of music, fashion, and creative outputs in general. It’s also quite rare that they become internationally known. No One Ever Really Dies or N*E*R*D for short, did exactly that.
Created in 1999, the funk/rock/hip-hop/alternative band was formed by The Neptunes duo, Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, as a side project. After producing songs for several artists, the duo teamed up with their friend, Shay Haley, and debuted their first album, In Search Of…, in August 2001 throughout Europe. In 2002, the debut album was re-released worldwide as a rock version featuring live drums and guitars played by the funk rock band, Spymob, compared to the original electronic version, and became certified Gold in the United States. Hits from the album included, Lapdance, Provider and Rock Star. The album touched on some political tensions youth were concerned with at the time, which was heard on tracks like Lapdance with the lyrics: “Politicians is soundin' like strippers to me/They keep sayin' but I don't want to hear it/Ooh baby you want me?”
For their second album, Fly or Die, released in 2004, N*E*R*D committed to learning the instruments needed to play the songs, as told by Chad Hugo on MTV news: “I just started playing the guitar last year, so I’m learning as we go.” The album also became certified Gold, with hits including She Wants to Move and Maybe featuring instrument plays by Lenny Kravitz and Questlove. Fly or Die in particular had a number of tracks that addressed adolescent issues like bullies (Thrasher), rebellion (Drill Sergeant), and first love (Backseat Love).
In 2005, N*E*R*D began to record a third album while starting their own label, Star Trak Entertainment. After touring with Kanye West, Rihanna, Lupe Fiasco, Santigold and Nas for the Glow in the Dark Tour, Seeing Sounds, released in 2008. The album was inspired by the neurological phenomenon “synthesia”, where one sensation involuntarily stimulates a completely different one, and in this case, Pharrell described his first encounter with it when he was a kid on Intro/Time for Some Action. The album, which was much smoother in sound, drastically differed from their first two club-banger-eques records. Hugo called it a “big album of LSD, sonic drug.” In an interview with MTV, Williams said that the band "didn't care about genres; we're not doing this for the money. We're doing this for people who pledge allegiance to our movement."
In 2010, N*E*R*D released their last album, Nothing. The album, according to Pharrell during an interview with Billboard.com, was conceptualized based off N*E*R*D’s need to “align [themselves] and make [themselves] parallel and congruent with what society is feeling. There’s a lot going on and a lot of things people don’t necessarily understand. We have a Tea Party. We have conservative Democrats. We have liberals that are like neo-liberals and nothing like you thought they’d be.”
With the history made by N*E*R*D and their discography, their presence at ComplexCon 2017 is something very special and near to our hearts, here at Billionaire Boys Club. In honor of this event, we created a Billionaire Boys Club x N*E*R*D fleece hoodie, featuring “No One Really Ever Dies” in the classic curve Billionaire Boys Club font along with “B.B.C” in the N*E*R*D logo font. Available in limited quantities at our ComplexCon booth (Booth: B20).