Wait a minute: N.E.R.D is back!
Seven years since their last album, the trio – Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, and Shay Haley – have made a surprise return with a brand new single called “Lemon,” featuring none other than Queen Rihanna!
“The truth will set you free but first it’ll piss you off,” Pharrell declares says before N.E.R.D‘s hard-hitting, futuristic bounce begins to take over the speakers. Pharrell makes a call to action throughout: “If not now, then when,” he raps over the hypnotic pulsations that bring to mind their Neptunes‘ golden years. “If not me, then who / Don’t drink the Kool-Aid, my friends / I tried to tell y’all about this dude!“
Then comes in Bad Gal RiRi with some slick rhymes on the second verse: “I get it how I live it/ I live it how I get/ Count the mothafuckin’ digits/ I pull up with a lemon,” she confidently raps with a very Pharrell-like swag. “Not ’cause she ain’t livin’/ It’s just your eyes get acidic/ And this here ain’t a scrimmage/ Mothafucka, we ain’t finished.”
It’s a welcome return that manages to feel nostalgic and entirely fresh all at once. To go along with the single, N.E.R.D also unleashed the accompanying music video, which they are calling a “tutorial.” It finds Rihanna shaving a woman’s head before an energetic dance sequence breaks out.
I didn’t realize how much I missed N.E.R.D until now – LOVE!