Chad Hugo

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Chad Hugo
Chad Hugo performing with N.E.R.D. in 2009
Chad Hugo performing with N.E.R.D. in 2009
Background information
Birth nameCharles Edward Hugo
Also known as
  • Chase Chad
  • Neo-Thrift-Musica
  • Shimmy Hoffa
  • Yardnoise
Born (1974-02-24) February 24, 1974 (age 49)
Portsmouth, Virginia, U.S.
GenresHip hop
  • Record producer
  • songwriter
Years active1994–present[1]
Member of

Charles Edward Hugo (born February 24, 1974) is an American record producer. Alongside close colleague Pharrell Williams, he formed the hip hop and R&B production duo the Neptunes in 1992,[1] with whom he's produced numerous hit records for various artists. He is also a member of the band N.E.R.D., alongside Williams and Shay Haley, and co-founded the now-defunct record label Star Trak Entertainment with Williams in 2001. In contrast to Williams, Hugo typically does not perform on records.[2]

Early Life[edit]

Charles Edward Hugo was born February 24, 1979, in Portsmouth, Virginia to a Filipino-American family. His mother was a lab technician and his father served in the United States Navy.[3] His exploration of music included recording mixtapes in his home using a boombox, and writing a paper about Robert Moog after learning about synthesizers from the news, which sparked an interest in electronic musical equipment.[4] He later joined his school band, playing the saxophone, through which he met Pharrell Williams, with whom he began producing music. They formed The Neptunes, and in 1992, upon entering a local talent contest, they were discovered by Teddy Riley, whose studio was close to their school.[5] Williams introduced Hugo to Hayley,[6] with whom they formed the group N.E.R.D in 1999. During high school Hugo worked as a professional DJ, performing at local church events,[4] and he and Williams also met and begin collaborating with brothers Pusha T and No Malice of Clipse, recording in Hugo's bedroom in his parents' attic.[7]


Through working with Riley, the Neptunes wrote Wreckx-n-Effect's 1992 song "Rump Shaker" while still in school.[5] They also worked with Riley's group Blackstreet, co-writing the single "Tonight's the Night" from their self-titled debut album.[5]

The Neptunes continued their production work, contributing to projects by New York City-based rapper Noreaga, Ol' Dirty Bastard, and Kelis[5] for whom they would entirely produce her debut studio album, Kaleidoscope in 1999, and her album Wanderland two years later.[8] Hugo met Jay-Z during a studio session for his second studio album, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 (1997), performing saxophone on the album's second single "The City Is Mine",[9] with the Neptunes going on to produce a number of tracks for Jay-Z. The Neptunes also produced hip hop duo Clipse's album, Exclusive Audio Footage in 1999, which went unreleased until 2022.[10]

In 2001, the Neptunes founded the label Star Trak Entertainment,[9] on which both the Neptunes and N.E.R.D would release the entirety of their projects until the label's dissolution in 2014. The same year, N.E.R.D. released their debut studio album, In Search of..., experimenting with more live instrumentation in comparison to the Neptunes' previous output.[11] Soon after, the Neptunes gained their first worldwide hit, producing Britney Spears' single, "I'm a Slave 4 U",[12] and wrote and produced NSYNC's final single, "Girlfriend". After the breakup of NSYNC, they continued to work with group member Justin Timberlake, writing and producing most of his debut solo album, Justified.[13]

In 2003, Hugo co-wrote and co-produced all songs on Kenna's debut album New Sacred Cow, and the Neptunes released a compilation album, Clones, featuring songs and remixes from various Star Trak artists. At the 2004 Grammy Awards, they won awards for "Best Pop Vocal Album" for their work on Justified, and "Producer of the Year".[14] Continuing his work with Kenna, Hugo co-produced all tracks on his next three projects: The Black Goodbye EP (2007), Make Sure They See My Face (2007), and Land 2 Air Chronicles II: Imitation Is Suicide Chapter 1 (2013). Hugo's notable solo production work includes collaborations with Ashlee Simpson, JoJo, E-40, The Internet, and BROCKHAMPTON. He has also done remixes for Jesse McCartney, Kings of Leon, and St. Vincent.

Hugo worked with Baltimore producer and DJ Daniel Biltmore under the name "MSSL CMMND", releasing mixtapes, original productions, and remixes of artists including Rhye, Iamsu!.[15] Under the moniker Yardnoise, he produced six tracks on the companion album to the film Manny (2014), by directors Ryan Moore and Leon Gast, which chronicled the early life and career of Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao.[16][17]

Hugo and Pharrell Williams were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame as a part of the 2020 class.[18]


With N.E.R.D.
With the Neptunes

Personal life[edit]

Hugo has three children, born in 1998, 2000, and 2014.[19][20][21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Pharrell Williams". Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  2. ^ "Like the song? These guys wrote it". The Age. May 15, 2004. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  3. ^ Diep, Eric. "20 Years Later, Neptunes Producer Chad Hugo Is Still Searching For More". Billboard. Retrieved September 9, 2023.
  4. ^ a b Cox, Azariah. "In Search of Chad Hugo". GQ. Retrieved October 4, 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d "Like the song? These guys wrote it". The Age. Retrieved September 10, 2023.
  6. ^ "Pharrell Williams on meeting his Neptunes partner Chad Hugo". CBS Sunday Morning. Retrieved September 17, 2023.
  7. ^ Williams, Chris. "Origin Stories: The Neptunes". Redbull Music Academy. Retrieved October 15, 2023.
  8. ^ Bierut, Patrick (March 7, 2020). "'Kaleidoscope': How Kelis Rewrote The R&B Rulebook". Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  9. ^ a b Jenkins, Craig. "The Humble Hitmaker". Vulture. Retrieved September 17, 2023.
  10. ^ "On 'Exclusive Audio Footage,' The Long-Lost Clipse Album". Vinyl Me, Please. April 19, 2018. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  11. ^ Bernstein, Michael (March 25, 2002). "N.E.R.D.: In Search of... Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  12. ^ "The Neptunes produced Britney Spears 'Slave 4 U'". Capital Xtra. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  13. ^ Kaufman, Gil (August 23, 2002). "Preview Of Justin Timberlake Album From Neptunes' Hugo". MTV. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  14. ^ "The Neptunes earn long-overdue Grammy". Today. February 9, 2004. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  15. ^ Kohn, Daniel. "Here's What Chad Hugo Has Been Up To Lately". Vice. Retrieved October 15, 2023.
  16. ^ Gallo, Phil. "Yardnoise's Chad Hugo, 'Face Your Destiny (Manny's Theme)': Exclusive Video Premiere". Billboard. Retrieved October 4, 2023.
  17. ^ "Face Your Destiny Soundtrack (Music Inspired By "Manny" The Movie)". Discogs. Retrieved October 4, 2023.
  18. ^ "Mariah Carey, Neptunes Inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame". The Hollywood Reporter. January 16, 2020.
  19. ^ "Priscilla Lynch Hugo (@priscillalynch) • Instagram photos and videos".
  20. ^ "Here's What Chad Hugo's Been Up to Lately". October 9, 2014.
  21. ^ "Chad Hugo is a N.E.R.D. to be recognized – today > entertainment – Music". June 17, 2008. Retrieved February 18, 2014.

External links[edit]