22 Incredible Songs You Can Thank Pharrell Williams For
by Alyssa K. Priebe
Pharrell Williams is responsible for some of the hottest tracks of the early 2000s. Before he was partying with minions he worked with artists like Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani, and Jay Z to bring you some of your favorite jams.
Think Gwen wrote the song that drove us all b-a-n-a-n-a-s? Guess again, she enlisted the help from Williams. To this day we don’t know what a “hollaback girl” is (seriously guys, what?), but we do don red lipstick and bust out singing whenever it comes on.
Slave 4 U
Yup, it’s Britney b*tch. And Williams. Released in 2001, “Slave 4 U” earned Pharrell’s production team, The Neptunes, their first worldwide number one hit. Not surprising, really. I mean when you mix Britney’s killer dance moves, a snake, and kickass lyrics you’re bound to have a top track.
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t “your childhood” but you can’t tell us when you hear this song you don’t feel nostalgic. Considering it was released in 2013, it goes to show Williams doesn’t plan on trading in his producing for a solo career. He’s gonna balance both. Lucky for us right? 😉
Hot in Herre
Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” climbed the charts back in 2002. In fact, it was another number one hit for The Neptunes. To this day whenever someone says “It’s hot in here,” people respond with “so take off all your clothes”. We can’t help it. It’s practically a reflex at this point.
I Just Wanna Love You
Jay Z may take credit for cheating on Queen B (sorry not sorry), but he can’t own up to crafting this famous song. Nah, the timeless tune and dance-worthy beats are the work of none other than Pharrell Williams and his studio. Surprised? We aren’t.
Drop it Like it’s Hot
Named the Most Popular Rap Song of the Decade by Billboard in 2009, this classic song wasn’t Snoop Dogg’s creation. Nope. Turns out Williams coined the phrase “drop it like it’s hot” and sings during part of it. Not that it changes anything, we’ve been popping and dropping since 2004 and we aren’t stopping any time soon.
Jay Z helped Pharrell come into fame especially with the release of this track on his Black Album. Not only did Williams write and produce it, but he performed enough that the song is said to be his first single, which was another huge success for The Neptunes.
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
Not every song Williams wrote was a major success. The remix of Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” proved a big flop for The Neptunes. But hey it’s still got a good beat, and don’t pretend you didn’t jam out during school dances to the original from 2003.
Flap Your Wings
Another collaboration with Nelly, and another success. “Flap Your Wings” flew to the top of charts after it’s release in 2004. And how could it not with the music video encompassing in the essence of cool with Nelly riding around in style on a treasure hunt?
Hell Hath No Furry
in 2006, The Neptunes needed a win, and with their work on the album Hell Hath No Furry for Clipse they got it. The album was said to be one of their best work yet and included songs like “We Got it for Cheap,” “Momma I’m so Sorry,” and “Mr. Me Too” featuring Pharrell Williams himself.
Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend
No, he didn’t write for Marilyn Monroe (obviously). Actually, this version debuted in Emporio Armani’s ad campaign for a new fragrance at the time. So who sung it? Beyonce of course! It may only be a minute long, but when you combine two talented artists you get gold—er, diamonds.
Why Should I Be Sad
It’s only natural that when Britney Spears was trying to make a comeback she enlisted the help from the one who brought her one of her hottest tracks. However, “Why Should I Be Sad” is only remembered by extreme Britney fans. Which, ironically, did give her something to be sad about.
Well All Right
If you were a Hives fan you probably remember their album, The Black and White Album which Williams wrote several songs for including this one. Not only did it perform well, but it also proved Pharrell knows more than pop and rap.
As previously mentioned he wrote two songs for the Hives album. The song “T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S.” acted as an introduction to the band, saying they rule the world. Sure it wasn’t totally true, obviously, because Williams does that.
Thanks to Britney and Gwen sometimes people forget about Shakira, but our hips don’t lie, Williams worked with her too. “Why Wait” is just one of the many songs he produced for her.
Ah there we go, there’s a Shakira track you’ll recognize. “She Wolf” performed admirably on the charts, and the video slayed (hello it was Shakira yoga dancing practically half-naked). Thanks Williams. We owe ya one.
Fresh Outta the Oven
Among Britney, Beyonce, and Shakira, Williams worked with another strong woman: J-Lo. Back when she was focusing on her singing career that is. Sure she’s moved on, but we can’t deny learning he wrote her buzz single “Fresh Outta the Oven” made us jump back and give it another listen.
When he went solo, Timberlake partnered with Williams who helped him launch his first album, Justified, which included this sizzlin’ song. Timerlake’s decision proved smart, because the album went on to win the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album for 2004. And no wonder, ’cause you just can’t stop the feeling when listening to this throwback.
Yup. You read it right. Perhaps one of the most recognized songs of this millenium. And Pharrel wrote it. His badass lyrics definitely brought us to the yard and kept us there to this day.
One of the most popular songs with a cause, American Prayer was written to bring awareness to the AIDS epidemic in America. Performed by several people, including U2 and Beyonce, it was truly moving. Hm, can we get a remake for this political crisis? Cause America really does need a prayer.
No Doubt it’s hard to remember a time when Gwen wasn’t performing on her own (see what we did there?), but as our childhood tracks will remind us, this dance song was one of the band’s best. And of course, Williams was the brains behind it.
At this point we’ve established Williams’s credibility in the rap industry. So does it really surprise you that he worked with Wreckx N Effect to create this booty-shaking, head-bobbing, famous tune? Yeah, didn’t think so.