It is 86 degrees in Chicago right now. You know who I love to listen to when it is hot outside (besides Dom Kennedy)? Pharrell. I want to highlight my five favorite songs from The Neptunes debut (and only) album, Clones. This album is criminally underrated and features some absolutely fantastic tracks, including the quintessential Skateboard P track ‘Frontin’. Head back in time and see if your top five line up with mine. You can also stream the full album below.
Nelly – If
I’ve always been a huge Nelly fan, and we already know how potent this duo is (see: ‘Hot In Herre’). ‘If’ appeared on Clones, which came out a year after the smash #1 single ‘Hot In Herre’ done by both of these artists. This track didn’t get the single treatment, but this is just some classic Neptunes production and some extreme cadence from Nelly, bobbing and weaving between singing and rapping. This is probably a top five non-single Nelly song for me, and definitely one of the most criminally slept on tracks on the album.
Vanessa Marquez – Good Girl
You may not be too familiar with Vanessa Marquez, but she signed to Star Trek early in the 2000s and recorded this track ‘Good Girl’ for the Clones compilation album. It’s a shame that this single didn’t get any push, because this could have torn up the R&B charts in 2003. She really didn’t do much else in her career besides provide background vocals on tracks from Justin Timberlake, Nelly, Bow Wow, & Snoop Dogg as well as providing the female vocal section of Timberlake’s ‘Rock Your Body’. It’s a shame she didn’t get a bigger push, but that doesn’t stop me from pushing play on ‘Good Girl’ many times every summer.
Busta Rhymes – Light Yo Ass On Fire
The Neptunes linked up with Busta Rhymes for this 2095 sounding track ‘Light Yo Ass On Fire’, which was the second single from the album and peaked at #69 on the Billboard Hot 100. Busta was in prime form on this track, and the fact that this track really sounds nearly a century into the future makes it so much better. It still doesn’t sound dated, and its 2015.
Clipse, Ab-Liva, Pharrell, & Roscoe P – Hot Damn
It’s hard not to love this one. The keys on this track matched with P’s infectious hook along with Clipse & Re-Up Gang‘s braggadocios bars? HOT DAMN. But that ‘What Happened To That Boy?’ beat switch in the middle of Ab-Liva‘s verse? HOT… DAMN. Then you got Pusha T barking about easy bake ovens and handing over rapping duties to Pharrell in the middle of his verse only to take back the microphone and firmly finish the verse. There’s nothing wrong with this song, and that’s perfectly fine.
Pharrell & JAY Z – Frontin’
C’mon. Really? I mean, c’mon. This is one of the most important songs of the last 15 years. I don’t have anything else to say.
This wraps up volume three. Hit the comments section below if you have any words on these five songs.