The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

There’s More to Pharrell Williams Than You Think

Art by: Sydney Stevenson

“Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof (Because I’m happy)”. “Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth (Because I’m happy)”. Wait, clap along if you know there is much more to the “Happy” singer than only creating a song for “Despicable Me 2.” Pharrell Williams is not just a singer, he’s a rapper, record producer, songwriter, entrepreneur and fashion designer. I know when I learned about the effect Williams made on different industries, I felt fascinated, and I’m sure some of you don’t know much about him, so I’m here to tell you about his influences. 


Of course, we all know him as a singer, but he’s a rapper too. The popular song, “Drop It Like It’s Hot” by Snoop Dogg features Pharrell Williams. We all like to drop it like it’s hot and sing along when the song comes on, but the person featured in the song is actually very influential in the music industry. 


The Songwriters Hall of Fame said Williams helped create several songs you probably know including Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” Nelly’s “Hot in Herre,” JAY Z’s, “I Just Wanna Love You (Give it 2 Me),” Britney Spears’ “I’m A Slave 4 U” and Justin Timberlake’s, “Like I Love You.” When I listened to these iconic songs throughout the years, I didn’t know the behind-the-scenes of them, and it was interesting to find out the creation of these songs. 


Pharrell has also been nominated for 39 Grammy awards and won 13 of them, including a nomination for Record of the Year, “Hollaback Girl,” by Gwen Stefani, which he helped write—just one example—I know you’ve all sung that one. The list goes on and on of what songs Williams either produced, wrote or helped create, but I would be sitting here writing for hours to name them all. His influence in the music industry is truly fascinating, and it’s safe to call him a creative genius. The fact that so many of these songs are different is what makes his work stand out.



Not only is he a singer and rapper, but he’s a producer too—one of the most influential producers, one could argue. Again, I’d be here forever listing all the songs he’s produced, so let’s take a look at some popular ones. “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar, “Apeshit” by Jay-Z and Beyonce, “Stir Fry” by Migos, “Neon Guts” by Lil Uzi Vert and “Objects in the Mirror” by Mac Miller are all songs American Songwriter said he’s produced. More Grammy award nominations and wins came Pharrell’s way for his producing endeavors, as well. He won Producer of the Year, Non-Classical at the 46th, the 56th and the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.


The Neptunes, formed alongside Chad Hugo in the early 1990s, was the first band Pharrell created as a hip-hop and R&B production duo. Later in 1999, Pharrell formed the group N.E.R.D. with Hugo and Shay Haley. The Neptunes received two Grammy awards including Producer of the Year, Non-Classical and for Best Rap Song with their single, “Money Maker.” N.E.R.D. received the Shortlist Prize for Artistic Achievement in Music, an award that recognizes the best album that had sold fewer than 500,000 copies at the time of its nomination, according to Billboard. The band also received a nomination for a Grammy award and won Best Editing for the song, “Lemon” with Rihanna at the MTV Video Music Awards. He has secured his spot as a hip-hop legend, and there’s no denying that. 


Pharrell did make his mark with incredible achievements in the music industry, but now let’s move on to his influence within the fashion industry. Pharrell’s style always captured my eye. His early outfits represented streetwear and skateboard culture—I wonder why my boyfriend and I are dating; his whole style is based on ‘90s skateboard culture—so I might be a little biased when it comes to Williams’ style. 



Williams influenced street style with his baggy looks and trucker hats. We see replications and outfits inspired by his iconic looks in the street style of yesterday and today. After connecting with Nigo in 2003, a Japanese designer and A Bathing Ape clothing line founder, Williams and Nigo founded Billionaire Boys Club, a clothing brand for streetwear. Another sublabel of a Billionaire Boys Club is ICECREAM, also founded by Williams and Nigo. The brand focuses on originality and authentic self-expression. They challenge their community to perceive wealth in humanity, compassion, creativity and curiosity, as stated on their About page.


2004, the year when Williams collaborated with his first-ever high fashion luxury brand, Louis Vuitton. With the work of Williams alongside Marc Jacobs and Nigo, they created the gold-detailed, aviator-inspired, sunglass collection, “Millionaire,” according to Highsnobiety, which also recognizes Williams’ creative work in the fashion realm throughout the years. 


Now as Louis Vuitton’s new Men’s Creative Director, Williams continues to innovate in the world of fashion. June 20, 2023 marks the day Williams made his fashion show debut with Louis Vuitton for the Men’s Spring/Summer Fashion Week. The show featured creative check designs that were the highlight of the show. Just last month in January, for the Men’s Autumn/Winter 2024-2025 Paris Fashion Week, Williams had another show for Louis Vuitton. This one showcased American Western styles, with a hint of elegance. The show’s iconic looks brought the Western aesthetic to the runway. The fashion shows represented what Williams could do for Louis Vuitton, and reinforced his talent and creative eye.



So, there you go. A long article about Pharrell Williams and his accomplishments. His influences are greater than I ever knew, and I hope you learned something new about a hugely influential person in the fashion and music game. He’s an icon, and we need to recognize that. Now maybe when you hear the song, “Happy” you’ll think of Williams as more than just a singer. 


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Hi! I’m Annie Gleydura, A Magazine’s editor-in-chief. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.

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