When the production team The Neptunes emerged in the late 90’s and going strong into the early 2000’s, they changed r&b, and music for that matter, in profound ways. By dominating the radio by churning out smash hit after smash hit with their signature sound, it pushed music in a whole new direction. Their success in r&b, hip-hop and beyond continues still to this day, as Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo remain among the most in demand producers out there. With this article, we hope to shine light on some of their best produced songs for other artists that never became singles and have gone overlooked through the years. Here’s what we came up with when selecting the best overlooked songs in The Neptunes production discography:
Kelis – I Want Your Love
Since The Neptunes originally made their mark in r&b on their artist Kelis’ debut album “Kaleidescope”, it’s only right we start with a song from that album. Really, you could have chosen many songs from this album, but “I Want Your Love” is a standout.
Babyface – Stressed Out
When Babyface released his album “Face 2 Face” in 2001, he chose another The Neptunes produced song, “There She Goes”, as the first single. “Stressed Out” would have also made a great choice, even if it’s not what you expect from Babyface.
Brian McKnight – I Wish It Would Rain Down (Listen Here)
Stashed away on the obscure “Urban Renewal: The Songs of Phil Collins” tribute album, Brian McKnight contributed a great cover of Phil’s timeless song “I Wish it Would Rain Down”. The Neptunes production on the song gives it a whole new feel.
Joe – Isn’t This the World
Included on Joe’s 2001 album “Better Days”, this is a more subdued The Neptunes production that was created many years earlier, in contrast to their signature electronic sound. A few years ago, another Joe song produced by The Neptunes called “Gone Away” popped up and currently remains unreleased.
Justin Timberlake – Let’s Take a Ride
Among The Neptunes best work in the 2000’s was for pop star Justin Timberlake’s debut album “Justified”. Along with producing the smash singles “Like I Love You” and “Rock Your Body”, they had seven songs in total and “Let’s Take a Ride” is a standout.
Latrelle featuring Kelis – My Life
The Neptunes contributed six songs to the debut album “Dirty Girl Wrong Girl Bad Girl” of young r&b singer Latrelle who was signed to Arista Records. Each of the songs contain The Neptunes signature sound, and “Dirty Girl” and “House Party” became singles. “My Life” is a standout album track that features Kelis on background vocals.
Omarion – Obsession
Although The Neptunes are more known for their work with Omarion on the single “Touch”, “Obession” is an overlooked gem from his sophomore album “21”.
Mary J. Blige – Till the Morning
The Neptunes contributed the funky song “Till the Morning” to Mary J. Blige’s 2007 album “Growing Pains”.
Beyonce – First Time
Included on the UK Edition of Beyonce’s debut solo album “Dangerously in Love” in 2003, The Neptunes produced “First Time”.
Kelis featuring Pharrell – Shooting Stars (Listen Here)
Years before Pharrell would become known for his song chops on “Frontin” and more recently on “Happy”, he contributed his vocals to the duet “Shooting Stars” with Kelis. The song was included on the r&b singer’s sophomore album “Wanderland” which only released in Europe.
Some Others of Note:
-Kelis – Sugar Honey Iced Tea
-Mary J. Blige – Steal Away
-Kandice Love – Amazin
-Vanessa Marquez – Good Girl
-Natasha Ramos – Midnight Hour
-Faith Evans – Goin Out
-Sleepy Brown – Margarita
-Robin Thicke – My Life