Old Raps Episode 5: The Neptunes

IN the first half of 2004, I gave at least four people the CD single of Snoop Dogg’s ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ for their birthday.

It was a pretty redundant gift – the song was played on the radio about 20 times a day back then, and at least once an hour, every hour on Channel V.

It’s one of many songs produced by The Neptunes that almost anyone can identify by just the first few seconds of the instrumental.

The duo of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo spent most of the early 2000s producing songs for Diddy, Gwen Stefani, Nelly, Kelis, Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Britney Spears, Busta Rhymes, Usher and, well, almost every American pop, R&B or rap star that could afford them. So much so that critics started to complain about how similar their beats were.

The Neptunes’ chart dominance faded away in 2007 as Pharrell set out to pursue a solo career, and now more young people know him as the guy who wears a big hat and makes songs for the Minions movies than they do as one-half of the greatest pop-rap production team of all time.

It’s impossible to do the Neptunes production discography justice with one episode (they produced more than that 100 songs in just 2003 alone!). This episode contains a selection of some old favourites and a few obscurities that’ll kickstart a re-obsession and lead to you listening to their entire back catalogue for the rest of the year. – DJ Levins

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1. The Neptunes – The Battle: Speed
2. N.O.R.E. – Oh No (remix feat. Capone, Jadakiss, Big Punisher, Maze & Musalini and Angie Martinez)
3. E-40 – Quarterbackin’ (feat. Clipse)
4. Foxy Brown – Candy (feat. Kelis)
5. Roscoe P Coldchain – Hot (feat.Pusha T)
6. Philly’s Most Wanted – Cross The Border
7. 504 Boyz – D-Game (feat. Master P, Krazy and Pusha T)
8. N*E*R*D – Rock Star (electronic version)
9. 702 – I Still Love You (feat. Pharrell)
10. T.I. – What’s Yo Name? (feat. Pharrell)
11. Clipse – Gangsta Lean (feat. Clipse)

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