How N.E.R.D. managed to squeeze [thoughtful] conversation pieces in-between party nonsense and girl worship baffles me, but they’ve done it, and my stagnant and slightly stupid brain thanks them for it.
N.E.R.D.’s fourth album, Nothing, gets off to a strong start. Party People ft. T.I. invokes a Michael Jackson-esque vibe with the chant “What I need what I need is that girl there” in the same cadence as “Mama say, mama sah, mama coo sah.” While T.I.’s flow is Southernplayalistic on this joint, it really is not all that necessary. When I hear this song, I see my girl gravity508 doing her Control-era Janet Jackson dance (it involves each shoulder alternating between left and right and up and down…and also, janglin’ tittays). I can also see her doing this dance to Perfect Defect, Hot-n-Fun ft. Nelly Furtado (another single with a high profile artist offering…well, nothing), and Hypnotize You, which sees N.E.R.D. getting their Ying Yang Twins on by whispering raps and chants like “touch it girl, touch it girl, touch it girl, uhh.”
Yes, N.E.R.D. knows how to make the ladies shake their asses. They also know how to take a feather duster to the brain and engage everyone in thought. Help Me, Victory, and It’s In The Air touch on the political, while God Bless Us All encourages little black boys to have pride. Life of a Fish dips into the Biblical, and at the end asks, “Nothing…we learned nothing, right?” Bonus track The Man points a finger at consumerism, which is the dirty bi-product of capitalism (or is it the other way around?). How N.E.R.D. managed to squeeze these conversation pieces in between party nonsense and girl worship baffles me, but they’ve done it, and my stagnant and slightly stupid brain thanks them for it.
What’s really interesting about this threesome is that, although they are getting older, they don’t seem to get old. They had some serious stuff to get off their chests, so they did. They did not, however, forget to have fun in the process! With each new album, you can always hear more sophisticated musical influences and stronger vocals. N.E.R.D. is an ever-progressive band, but as long as they continue to make music revolving around partying and pussy, they will never die.
No one ever really dies, you know.