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July 17, 2018

Album Review: N.E.R.D's "No One Ever Really Dies"

N.E.R.D's "No One Ever Really Dies" album cover art
N.E.R.D's "No One Ever Really Dies" album cover art

Title: No One Ever Really Dies

Artiste: N.E.R.D

Genre: Hip-hop, rap rock, synth punk

Release: December 15, 2017

 

Pharell Williams, Chad Hugo and Shay Haley don’t make meritless albums. At least, since they formed the group back in the late 1990s, they’ve managed to keep their charm, if not the record sales. According to what’s on paper, their debut album, In Search Of..., did pretty well compared to all other releases that followed.

The last time the trio released a project was seven years ago. “Nothing” didn’t quite leave the impression the exploratory music group expected it would. Judging from the album title, probably that was exactly what they wanted their fans to feel. Anyway, it had to wait this long for them to make another attempt at the music world. 

N.E.R.D’s latest work, which dropped exactly two weeks to the start of 2018, continues their tradition. It’s quite experimental and minimalistic at the same time. What even spices it up the most is its expansive choice of guest stars, which might have been an intentional move meant to get their record sales up this time.

Rihanna amplifies the effect of the project on the opening track, Lemon, which is also the group’s first jam since 2010. Gucci Mane and Wale add zing to the third track, Viola. 1,000 is probably the most obvious protest tune, which features Future, who certainly introduces elements of contemporary hip hop. 

Kendrick Lamar, who is probably the most-sought-after artiste right now, and one who greatly conforms to the project’s main focus, makes a double appearance on Don’t Don’t Do It! and Kites, which also taps MIA’s vocals. Also featured on the project are André 3000 and Ed Sheeran on Rollinem 7’s and Lifting You, respectively.

While most parts of the project are impressively heedful to the very common topics addressing the political situation and racial profiling, the artistes continue to push the group’s sound. Probably the most clear-cut thing about N.E.R.D is their unique style of music that combines funk, rock and hip-hop. The most intriguing bit about it is how they ensure it works well with the guest list.

 

Star Rating: 

3 out of 5

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