If you like rap and you fancy yourself any kind of producer then you better know who The Neptunes are. If you don’t, you need to leave work, go back home, go to the bathroom, splash water on your face and then just stare at yourself in the mirror for 2 hours. After that, read the rest of this post.
The Neptunes were made up of the ubiquitous Pharrell and the very less ubiquitous guy who most people know as “The Asian Dude” but whose real name is Chad Hugo. I would rate these guys at the level of Timbaland as most innovative producers in hip hop history. Interesting factoid, they actually come from the same town, Virginia Beach, as Timba and for a short while formed a group with him and Magoo called Surrounded By Idiots. They never recorded anything though but imagine if they did.
How would I describe their style? Percussive, techy, sometimes industrial. Minimal? Easier to illustrate with examples. Here’s my list of their best beats (had to label as Part 1 because they made like fucking everything):
Noreaga – SuperThug
This is one of the first big Neptunes tracks. Dropped in Sept 1998, it would lead to an era of dominance.
Ol Dirty Bastard – Baby I Got Your Money
Yeah, they made this.
Ludacris – Southern Hospitality
Yeah before Luda was in Fast & Furious movies he was rapping over tight beats.
Mystikal – Shake Ya Ass
An anthem to the movement of the ass. A dope beat.
Britney Spears – Slave 4 U
No matter your opinion on Britney Spears, this beat is tight as fuck.
Usher – U Don’t Have To Call
This track is what we call a panty wetter. Sorry ladies but it’s true. Also I wish my life was like this video.
Clipse – When The Last Time
Before you say anything, I could have put like 10 Clipse songs on this list. Love “Grindin”, love “Wamp Wamp”. I mean fucking Neptunes produced the entire Clipse catalogue if I’m not mistaken. Will prob add more in part 2.
Justin Timberlake – Rock Your Body
Yeah they fucking made this. I know, it’s fucked up.
Nelly – Flap Your Wings
People forget about this one. I don’t.
Snoop Dogg – Drop It Like It’s Hot