|Origin||Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States|
|Labels||Star Trak, Interscope|
|Associated acts||N.E.R.D, Clipse, Pusha T, Philly's Most Wanted, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Mase, Nelly, Kelis, Noreaga, No Doubt, Usher, Busta Rhymes, Ludacris, Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg, Gwen Stefani, Kanye West, Bow Wow|
The Neptunes are a record production duo consisting of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, who are credited with contributing the sound for many successful hip hop, R&B and pop artists in the late-1990s and 2000s. The Neptunes' sound is a distinctive brand of off-kilter, stripped-down electronic funk with sounds from Middle Eastern and Asian music including percussion and woodwind. Pharrell sings and (later) raps on records and appears in videos, unlike his production partner Chad, and sometimes vocal partner Shay Haley, who tends to stay behind the scenes.
The Neptunes are estimated to have a net worth of $155 million and are considered one of the most successful producers in music history, noted by twenty-four Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hits during the late 1990s and 2000s. In 2009 Billboard ranked The Neptunes No. 1 on their list of Top 10 producers of the decade. Readers of Vibe Magazine named The Neptunes as the 3rd greatest hip-hop producers of all time behind Dr. Dre and DJ Premier.
The Neptunes sound 
Their 'sound' is mostly synthesizer riffs, Sampling Keyboard and modules. The Neptunes sound was first heard on Noreaga's 1998 track "Superthug". Although not their first production, the song became known as an example for the "Neptunes Sound". Another example of the Neptunes Sound is their remix of the Daft Punk song "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger". The song was released on Daft Punk's remix album titled "Daft Club," which was released internationally on December 3, 2003 and in the U.S. on January 27, 2004.
A Neptunes production is typically characterized by flat, punchy drum machine sounds and the use of module presets. "Grindin'" was a drum track that paid tribute to Eric B. & Rakim's song of the same nature, "My Melody". Justin Timberlake's "Like I Love You" paid tribute to the drums of the funk era, where the loop consisted of various snare sounds. On Busta Rhymes' "Light Yo Ass On Fire" they used a heavy chorus effect on the rhythm track suggesting an industrial or robotic theme. They have used the popular Roland TR-808 drum sound on such songs as LL Cool J's and Jamie Foxx's collaboration "Best Dress" but later production work introduced 'live' drum sounds similar to the ones they would frequently use under their N*E*R*D guise.
The Neptunes' engineer, in an interview with Sound on Sound magazine, revealed many of their production techniques. In reference to their drums he said, "Williams will play a standard drum kit, then I will cut 16 bars of it into a loop, before using the same method for other instruments including guitars. That's where a lot of the feel of their records comes from — it's not just machines and loops."
Many Neptunes productions feature a hook with Pharrell singing falsetto, including Jay-Z's "Excuse Me Miss", Jadakiss' "Hot Sauce To Go", Kelis' "Flashback", and Snoop Dogg's "Beautiful". Pharrell also adds his own rhymes to his productions, including "Drop It Like It's Hot" in 2004 and "Can I Have It Like That" from his solo debut album In My Mind. Sometimes he is credited as a featured artist and other times he is not.
Another sound found on Neptunes productions are their distinctive use of synth lines (popularized by Dr. Dre in the early 1990s with his G-funk sub-genre). Examples include the sharp unfiltered sawtooth bass on Busta Rhymes' As I Come Back or Kelis' Milkshake, the heavily phased strings in Jay-Z's "Excuse Me Miss (Remix)", and hard clavi sounds which is used in N.E.R.D's "Lapdance" reminiscent of those associated with rayguns or video game sound effects from the 8-bit era. The synthesizers they use include a MicroKorg, and a Minimoog Voyager.
Studio equipment 
There has been much speculation about their tools of the trade. For sequencing they use the Korg 01/W, for drum sounds they use the sampling keyboard Ensoniq ASR-10, their sound modules include the Roland JV 1080 and JV 2080 and for basslines and filtering they have used the MicroKorg. They are also well known for using the Korg Triton and incorporating live percussion and acoustic instruments into their music.
Star Trak 
The Neptunes' record label, Star Trak Entertainment, includes acts such as Snoop Dogg, Slim Thug and Robin Thicke. Star Trak artists generally benefit from more frequent production from The Neptunes, however, criticisms include poor promotion and release scheduling. Former artist include (due to parent label disputes) Kelis.
The alternative group N*E*R*D is composed of Pharrell, Chad and Shay Haley. It is a backronym of No one Ever Really Dies. Their group hits include "Lapdance", "Rock Star" and "She Wants To Move". The first two singles came from their debut album In Search Of... released in 2001, while the latter came from their eagerly anticipated follow-up Fly Or Die in 2004. The band released a third album, Seeing Sounds, on June 10, 2008 and released their fourth studio album entitled "Nothing", on November 2, 2010.
Pharrell as a solo artist 
In 2003, Pharrell released his first solo single, Frontin' featuring Jay-Z. At the time he claimed it was a one-off song, and that he was not a singer in his own right. However, after several delays, Pharrell released his debut solo album on July 24 , 2006, titled "In My Mind". The first single from the album was a collaboration with Gwen Stefani titled "Can I Have It Like That", released in 2005. The album features numerous guests, including Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Nelly, Slim Thug, and Kanye West.
In recent years, Pharrell and Hugo have written many songs and produced beats separately on different projects, despite production still being credited to The Neptunes in all cases except Pharrell's solo debut In My Mind and Hugo's work on Kenna's New Sacred Cow. Notable examples include the Clipse's 2006 release Hell Hath No Fury,& 2009 release of Til The Casket Drops, where Pharrell or P.Williams is the only member of the duo who receives writing credits, as well as N.E.R.D.'s 2008 album Seeing Sounds, where nine songs are written solely by Pharrell and 3 are written by both Pharrell and Chad (Hugo received credits for additional keyboards and horns). Hugo, meanwhile, co-wrote the majority of Kenna's 2007 album Make Sure They See My Face, with the exception of two songs co-written by Pharrell and two written by Kenna alone. Basic speculation has to do with the fact that Pharrell now resides in Miami and Chad still resides in Virginia, but according to Pharrell, the two are very much still a team, despite recent allegations that the duo were splitting ways back in October 2008. The most recent project to receive substantial writing input from both Pharrell and Hugo has been Common's Universal Mind Control while Asher Roth recently confirmed that he was collaborating with both on his latest album.
Awards and nominations 
The duo has received numerous awards, such as from the Grammy Awards, where they have been nominated every year from 2004 to 2007. The Neptunes have received three Grammy Awards: "Producer of the Year, Non-Classical", "Best Pop Vocal Album" for Justified, and "Best Rap Song" for "Money Maker". Overall, The Neptunes have received five awards from 17 nominations.
Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Awards 
|2002||The Neptunes||Songwriter of the Year||Nominated|
|Producer of the Year||Nominated|
|2003||The Neptunes||Songwriter of the Year||Nominated|
|Producer of the Year||Won|
|2004||The Neptunes||Producer of the Year||Nominated|
|2009||The Neptunes||Producer of the Decade||Won|
Grammy Awards 
|2004||The Neptunes||Producer of the Year, Non-Classical||Won|
|Justified||Best Pop Vocal Album||Won|
|"Frontin'"||Best Rap/Sung Collaboration||Nominated|
|"Beautiful"||Best Rap/Sung Collaboration||Nominated|
|Best Rap Song||Nominated|
|"Excuse Me Miss"||Best Rap Song||Nominated|
|2005||"Drop It Like It's Hot"||Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group||Nominated|
|Best Rap Song||Nominated|
|2006||The Neptunes||Producer of the Year||Nominated|
|2006||"The Emancipation of MiMi"||Best Contemporary R&B Album||Won|
|2007||"Money Maker"||Best Rap Song||Won|
|In My Mind||Best Rap Album||Nominated|
- "Panache Report". Panache Report. Retrieved 2011-10-31.
- Nigel D. "Billboard's Top 10 Producers Of The Decade | RealTalkNY". Realtalkny.uproxx.com. Retrieved 2011-10-31.
- Dan Daley. "Recording The Neptunes". Soundonsound.com. Retrieved 2011-10-31.
- Sound on Sound "Recording the Neptunes", July 2005
- "Neptunes production techniques; an interview with Chad Hugo" on hiphopgame.com, from the December 2003 issue of 'Sound & Recording'
- "Asher Roth promises "dope" music - Music News". Digital Spy. 2010-04-03. Retrieved 2011-10-31.
- "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "Finalists & Winners". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "46th Grammy Awards - 2004". Rock on the Net. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "47th Grammy Awards - 2005". Rock on the Net. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "48th Grammy Awards - 2006". Rock on the Net. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "49th Grammy Awards - 2007". Rock on the Net. Retrieved 2008-09-15.