The Neptunes‘ Pharrell recently called for fellow artists to return to the basics of talent over image in an industry, he says, which has become too concerned with aesthetics.
While not naming any particular label, Pharrell also discussed why the music industry continues to control new artists.
“They do still have the power because they have the marketing dollars,” he said in an interview. “And while all these great social networking sites have a lot of power, they haven’t really figured out what to do with it…The last 12 to 15 years, this whole aesthetic thing has just ruined everything…It’s just gotten too far. I mean, look, when I was a kid, you understand how many men were, like, balding but they were like the kings of music? It’s not about that, it’s not about how good your hair grows or like how strong your cheek bones are…Some of the biggest stars from the ’80s and ’90s weren’t the best looking people in the world but they were where the talent was. Actors, actresses, musicans, artists, we gotta get back to that.” (RestInBeats)
Rap newcomer Drake previously pointed out his issues with a record label’s “politics” intervening with an artist’s music.
“There’s a lot of [labels] trying to put a bid in but I refuse to let this album be about politics,” Drake recenty said about his forthcoming debut. “A lot of people argue about my buzz, ‘Oh it’s just the Internet buzz’ or ‘Oh it’s not real, it can’t materialize,’ so I think if I did put out an album with no label, I think I could really prove a point which is the changing of a generation because we don’t have the same marketing tools Roc-A-Fella used years ago.” (Semtex TV)
Other rappers like Cassidy have placed their “freedom” over signing with a major record company.
“I love hip-hop,” the rapper explained in an interview. “I just always wanted to prove that I was better than another rapper…The focus and direction of artists [has changed.] It’s bigger than it’s ever been…People [are] making business music as opposed to making good music…Yeah, I don’t want a deal right now. I’d rather have my freedom without people over me telling me what to do. If you was ever in the industry, you’d know what I mean.” (Rolling Out)
Pharrell has nearly two decades of history within the music industry.
Pharrell Williams didn’t only help change the face of pop music during the late ’90s and early 2000s. He also was one of the faces of pop music — as a charismatic star who often stole the show when producing and/or guesting on other artists’ hit singles. His presence was unfading, whether he was in front of a music video or behind a beat. To trace the beginning of his ascent, you have to go back to 1992, when Teddy Riley tapped him to write a verse for Wreckx-n-Effect‘s “Rump Shaker.” Since the late ’90s, Williams and longtime friend Chad Hugo — known together as the Neptunes — began scoring songwriting and production assignments that slowly but steadily infiltrated mainstream music. (All Music)
Check out Pharrell’s interview below: