Frontin'

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"Frontin'"
Frontin'.jpg
Single by Pharrell Williams featuring Jay-Z
from the album The Neptunes Present... Clones
ReleasedJune 3, 2003
RecordedMarch 2003
Genre
Length4:01
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)The Neptunes
Pharrell Williams singles chronology
"Belly Dancer"
(2002)
"Frontin'"
(2003)
"Light Your Ass on Fire"
(2003)
Jay-Z singles chronology
"La-La-La"
(2003)
"Frontin"
(2003)
"Change Clothes"
(2003)
Music video
"Frontin'" on YouTube

"Frontin'" is the debut single by American musician Pharrell Williams featuring fellow American musician Jay-Z. It was written by the artists alongside Chad Hugo, who produced it with Williams as The Neptunes. At the time of its release, Williams insisted the single was a one-off, and that he was purely a producer and not an artist in his own right. However, he released his own solo studio album, In My Mind, in 2006.

The song's title refers to putting up a facade (or false 'front'), typically to impress peers. It was the 34th best-selling song of 2003 in the U.S., according to Billboard magazine. It was also featured on The Neptunes' 2003 compilation album The Neptunes Present... Clones, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in August 2003. The video features a 17-year old Lauren London as Pharrell's love interest.[1]

The drum beat was heavily influenced by the Beatles 1965 track "In My Life", and the bass during the bridge by Stevie Wonder. Pharrell had initially written the song for Prince.[2]

Music video[edit]

The music video was filmed in Miami, Florida.[1]

Chart performance[edit]

"Frontin'" peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100. It also peaked at number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. In the UK, the song also charted inside the top 10, peaking at number six in the UK Singles Chart and spending 10 weeks within the top 75. It was Pharrell's biggest solo hit until 2013's "Happy" (his biggest hit as a collaboration being "Blurred Lines" with Robin Thicke and T.I.).[citation needed]

Covers[edit]

On February 11, 2004, the track was covered by British neo-jazz artist Jamie Cullum for BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge. Williams was very impressed by the cover after it was played to him on a visit to the show, and this led to Cullum providing backup vocals for "You Can Do It Too", a track on Pharrell's first solo album In My Mind. The cover appeared as a bonus track on the US release of Cullum's album Twentysomething. Cullum's version was released as a single and reached number 12 in the UK.[citation needed]

It was also covered live by Maroon 5, featuring Chad Hugo and rapper Mos Def, who replaced Jay-Z's verse with impromptu rapping from A Tribe Called Quest's "Bonita Applebum," in an apparent reference to similarities between parts of the tracks.[citation needed] New Orleans native Trombone Shorty and his band and Orleans Avenue cover the song on their 2005 debut album, Orleans & Claiborne.[3] During the 2012 International Yardfest at Howard University, American singer Leah LaBelle performed her 2012 single "Sexify" as part of a medley with "Frontin'".[4] In 2014, UK garage band Disclosure remixed the song.[5]

American rapper Goldlink also performed a live cover of the song on Like a Version.

Track listing[edit]

  • UK CD single
  1. "Frontin'" (featuring Jay-Z) (radio edit)
  2. "Hot Damn" (featuring Ab Liva)
  3. "Popular Thug" (Kelis featuring Nas)
  4. "Frontin'" (video)

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2003) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[6] 28
Australian Urban (ARIA)[7] 11
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[8] 33
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[9] 6
Canada (RPM) 15
Denmark (Tracklisten)[10] 12
Germany (Official German Charts)[11] 61
Ireland (IRMA)[12] 16
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[13] 21
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[14] 49
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[15] 23
UK Singles (OCC)[16] 6
US Billboard Hot 100[17] 5
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[18] 1
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[19] 29

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2003) Position
UK Singles (OCC)[20] 87
US Billboard Hot 100[21] 34

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "HER SOURCE EXCLUSIVE: LAUREN LONDON & JENIFER LEWIS TALK 'BAGGAGE CLAIM'". The Source. September 19, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  2. ^ "Stay Curious: Pharrell Williams Interviewed". Clash Music. July 9, 2018. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
  3. ^ Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews and Orleans Avenue: Orleans & Claiborne. Amazon.com,
  4. ^ Kimble, Julian (October 20, 2012). "Recap: Howard University Homecoming International Yardfest 2012". Complex. Verizon Hearst Media Partners. Archived from the original on July 24, 2016.
  5. ^ Smith, Trevor (June 6, 2014). "Disclosure - Frontin' (Remix)". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  6. ^ "Pharrell Williams feat. Jay-Z – Frontin'". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  7. ^ "Issue 705" ARIA Top 40 Urban Singles. National Library of Australia. Retrieved February 27, 2022.
  8. ^ "Pharrell Williams feat. Jay-Z – Frontin'" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  9. ^ "Pharrell Williams feat. Jay-Z – Frontin'" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  10. ^ "Pharrell Williams feat. Jay-Z – Frontin'". Tracklisten.
  11. ^ "Pharrell Williams feat. Jay-Z – Frontin'" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  12. ^ "Irish-charts.com – Discography Pharrell Williams". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved April 3, 2022.
  13. ^ "Pharrell Williams feat. Jay-Z – Frontin'" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  14. ^ "Pharrell Williams feat. Jay-Z – Frontin'". Singles Top 100.
  15. ^ "Pharrell Williams feat. Jay-Z – Frontin'". Swiss Singles Chart.
  16. ^ "Pharrell Williams feat. Jay-Z: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  17. ^ "Pharrell Williams Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  18. ^ "Pharrell Williams Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
  19. ^ "Pharrell Williams Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  20. ^ "The Official UK Singles Chart Top 200 2003" (PDF). Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 14, 2022.
  21. ^ "2003 Year End Charts – The Billboard Hot 100 Singles & Tracks". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved January 3, 2012.