If there's been anyone successful in the last decade, it's been Pharrell. From producer to solo artist, he's delivered some of pop music's biggest and most successful hits. It's hard to believe he's found any time for his other projects, but he's a man who loves the music over anything else. He's back with a bang with his band N.E.R.D, and they make sure you know so. N.E.R.D sound alive in No_One Ever Really Dies, taking a firm footing in hip-hop and having fun while doing it.
No_one Ever Really Dies boasts some big names as features in the tracklist, and many go above and beyond. Of course, the best collaboration on the record is Kendrick Lamar in 'Don't Don't Do It!," a song with epic drive and even more awesomely delivered verse by Kendrick. He features again on 'Kites,' both he, the band, and M.I.A. sounding strong above the great beat. Future jumps in in the active and quick '1000,' while Rihanna opens the record up to add some flavor to 'Lemon.' Similar to how the beginning of the record boasts a big name, the end does as well with Ed Sheeran spicing up 'Lifting You' with some sweet harmonies.
Features don't make an album, though. N.E.R.D has plenty of moments to prove their work in great independently of any featured guests. Such moments come in songs like the punchy and charming 'Deep Down Thrust Body' and the awesomely triumphant 'Lightning Fire Magic Prayer.' With loads of flair between the three brilliant minds that make up the band and the experiences they've amassed over the last few years, there's really little place for error on the record. Perhaps the record is even a bit reserved to avoid hitting those bangers that have the potential to create monopolies over the world of pop. The only song that doesn't quite sit well is 'Secret Life Of Tigers,' which has a weird anthemic sense about it that seems a bit off-pace.
N.E.R.D sound alive in No_One Ever Really Dies, offering original blasts of jazzy, hip-hop flair to spice up the staling hip-hop scene at the end of the year. When you put three masters together, you can make amazing things. N.E.R.D is the product of such a combination.
Favorite Track: Don't Don't Do It!
Least Favorite Track: Secret Life Of Tigers
Rating: 74 / 100
Stream or buy No_One Ever Really Dies on Apple Music: