N.E.R.D., the band formed by blockbuster producers the Neptunes, have broken up, frontman Pharrell Williams announced in a BBC Radio 1 interview over the weekend. Pharrell emphasized that he and production partner Chad Hugo will continue their work as the Neptunes.
"N.E.R.D. is dead," said Pharrell. "I don't agree with the management at Virgin Records, so we're done." He explained that he and Hugo will "still do what we do in the studio" and remain on good terms with third N.E.R.D. member and childhood friend Shay. "I'm not here to slander or throw dirt," Pharrell continued. "I'm just not happy, so therefore N.E.R.D. is expired." Virgin declined to comment.
Rock/hip-hop trio N.E.R.D., or No One Ever Really Dies, released their debut album, In Search of..., in 2002. The record's two singles, "Lapdance" and "Rock Star," were modest hits and had videos in heavy rotation on MTV. ("Lapdance" was helped by its late-night clip featuring a roomful of nearly naked women.) The follow-up, Fly or Die, debuted at Number Six on the Billboard album chart upon its release last March.
Pharrell left open the possibility that new N.E.R.D. tracks might be released in the future, but through less formal channels. "Perhaps we'll do some music for our fans and leak it on the Internet or something," he said. "Who knows?"
The Neptunes collaborated with Mariah Carey on her upcoming album and currently have projects scheduled with Mary J. Blige and Omarion. It is unclear whether Pharrell, who was recently featured as a vocalist on Snoop Dogg's hit "Drop It Like It's Hot," will pursue solo recordings in the future.