Pharrell Williams Lands Digital Cover of Complex Magazine
In Complex’s latest digital cover Joe La Puma chat’s it up with the innovator of “24-hour music videos” Pharrell Williams to talk success, new project, his new “Black Skinhead” look, Rush Limbaugh and more. check out spinets from the interview below; you can read the entire feature over on complex.com
Did you ever imagine you would end up where you are now?
What’s ahead, you don’t know. So, fuck it. Remember they didn’t like tight pants? They were laughing at me. We were jumping around in the N.E.R.D video, “Everyone Nose.” We were bringing light to what the party scene had become. We were moshin’ at a time where niggas were like, “What’s that?” And I’m like, “What do you mean? Y’all don’t remember when Onyx was moshin’?” They were the first to do that shit.
You had green hair, and a sort of hip-hop grunge thing going on at one time. Are there any looks you regret?
That’s a funny question. Often I see people going crazy over people who wear furs. And just recently I tried on something from Moncler. This crazy jacket. And I regret it because I sympathize with the people who are animal activists. I sympathize with their movement and I recognize that people could be impressionable. But at the same time, I like fashion. And I don’t like being told what to do. I especially don’t like people who judge because those people who sit around like they’re purists on every level, I’m sure you can find a sin there somewhere. Don’t point the finger. Like, I hope there’s nothing leather in your whole entire house. And if there isn’t, that’s cool, but what about what you’re driving? Oh, you’re not putting any emissions in the air? Oh, OK, cool. Alright, so are you feeding any people? What are you doing with your life? So, while I sympathize with their movement, I’ma take on a challenge.
Does it get frustrating?
You know, the last time this happened to me was when I did the 777 thing in Rio. We did a concert, Lenny Kravitz and N.E.R.D. The event was called Live Earth, I think, and we were trying to bring awareness to Earth Day or whatever. And Rush Limbaugh was like, “Here’s a guy who probably owns about 20 or 30 cars, probably came there by way of a private jet, landed his jet on top of the tent.” So I was like, “Yo, why you fuckin’ with me? By the way, I’m a producer, dude. I’m in this little niche band called N.E.R.D. Why you fuckin’ with me?” But you know what? Instead of getting really mad, I rose to the challenge, and I joined forces with [the eco-couture line] Bionic Yarn, and we’ve been doing really great collaborations ever since. I think the humanitarian in me always tries to rise to the occasion of how I can better myself. I try to see positivity in other people’s negativity. It’s one thing to be upset, and it’s another to be mean and evil-spirited.
How do you create different visions for different people?
I go off the personality and what’s there. You just get a feeling, something comes to you. It’s like conversation. That’s really what it is. It’s an exchange of conversation. It’s just that it’s chords instead of sentences. Sometimes there are words instead of conversations.
Your verse on the “Pretty Flacko” Remix was one of the best of 2012. Do you still enjoy rapping?
Sure. I love rapping. But—something’s coming, and I’m not rapping on it.
No? A full body of work with no rapping?
No rapping. It’s focused. Like I told you, that’s the difference between 30 and 40. ’Cause I was 30, now I’m 40—and I’m not rapping.
Are you talking about a solo album?