Top Picks: Pharrell Williams

From his eclectic music style to his iconic Buffalo Hat, this innovative musician is known by many nicknames such as Skateboard P, Station Wagon P, or the Verb Lord. However, he's best known simply as Pharrell Williams, one of the most creative and prominent producers in history.

As the lead singer of the hip-hop group N.E.R.D. and one-half of the Neptunes production duo, Pharrell has since become recognized as an unstoppable influence on music, fashion and pop culture. During his 30-year career, Pharrell has received accolades including 13 Grammy Awards and two Academy Award nominations (as a musician and producer). In celebration of his 50th birthday on April 5, I am sharing my top picks from Pharrell's career.

An intimate look at Pharrell's body of work, the Ian Luna-assisted memoir Places and Spaces I've Been tells of his early years growing up in Virginia, musical roots and his business ventures such as the streetwear line Billionaire Boys Club, the record label I Am Other, and collaborations with luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel. The book also includes commentary from frequent collaborators such as Jay-Z, Kanye West and Anna Wintour.

In 2014, Pharrell released his second studio album G I R L to widespread acclaim. A melodic blend of R&B, pop, and house music, the album earned Pharrell a Grammy Award for Best Urban Contemporary Album, while its lead single Happy topped the charts worldwide and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.

Three years after the release of Girl, Pharrell reunited with N.E.R.D. bandmates Chad Hugo and Shay Haley for the group's fifth studio album No One Ever Really Dies. A fusion of hip-hop, pop and rock, the album features contributions from music's biggest names such as Drake, Future, Rihanna and Kendrick Lamar. This is the group's most recent project.

Four years after the release of Places and Spaces I've Been, Pharrell's musical journey continued with the 2018 release of the memoir A Fish Doesn't Know It's Wet, which not only chronicles his worldwide success with Happy, but also contains photographs and illustrations of his expansive career. 

In 2013, Pharrell collaborated with French house duo Daft Punk for their fourth and final studio album Random Access Memories. The Grammy-winning album pays tribute to music from the late 1970s and early 1980s with influences of progressive rock and pop. Pharrell co-wrote and produced two songs from the album: Lose Yourself to Dance and Get Lucky, the latter of which also featured Nile Rodgers and was a worldwide success. 

Do you have a favorite song written by Pharrell? Let us know in the comments below.