What's Chad Hugo's contribution to The Neptunes

  • I was listening to BUSH today and I was just thinking what is Chad Hugo's contribution in The Neptunes.

    I always saw Chad as the master of finding pockets in songs that Pharrell wouldn't be able to find. He, for example, was the one that added the synth sound at the end of the verse and before the hook in 'Drop It Like Hot' and Snoop said it changed everything. The same can be said about 'This City' by Snoop on BUSH. Chad Hugo has credit on the song and any long time Neptune can here what he contributed to the song. Listen to the song from 0:00 to 0:48. That's Chad Hugo in the intro and with the synths. From 0:48 to 1:03 is where I think Chad did nothing and its Pharrell only. I think that the song would've sounding pretty much like that throughout if it wasn't for Chad's additions. Also the guitar parts that were done by Brett which I'm sure Chad then added the arpeggiated synth over. P would've left it with just the guitar as he does with songs like 'Last Kiss' for example.

    I always think that Chad was the genius behind the times when The Neptunes bridges were somewhat famous. For example, if you've seen the making of Justified by Justin Timberlake on YouTube, you'll know that Chad was the one that figured out the bridge when Pharrell couldn't on 'Let's Take A Ride' (My personal favorite song). Is this the case for all songs? Probably not because P did have input but seeing Chad do what he does and the fact the Pharrell doesn't really do bridges anymore, is proof enough for me that Chad was a big factor behind the famous Neptune bridges.

    Another song that shows Chads genius is 'Burgundy' by Earl Sweatshirt. Most of use know the story of Pharrell making that beat in 5 minutes which I'm sure he did if you minus Chads contributions, which was the sax sections and the synth (Its the same sax and synth he used in 'Chum' by Earl). You know this is true if you've seen the making of Chum by Christian Rich when they spoke about Chad. Listen to 'Burgundy' and try ignore the sax and synth.

    What's the point of all this? Well, I don't think its true that Pharrell is "the true sound of The Neptunes" which I've seen before. Yes he adds more but without Chad, his productions would've be the simplistic P we here in todays songs and that isn't a bad thing. Admittadly, Chads solo works aren't that great but I still think he deserves more credit than he gets.

    This is my theory on everything. I might not be 100% correct on everything but I'm curious to hear what y'all think. Am I wrong? Right?

  • As Kenna once said:

    Pharrell draws the black outlines of the picture. And then Chad colours it in.

    That pretty much sums up how they work - and even touches on what annoys people about Pharrells solo stuff

  • they both contribute to songs in a back and forth capacity. pharrell has input on chad tracks and vice versa. with that said it was very apparent when chad wasn't apart of a neptune/pharrell song especially when in my mind came out. it felt very very different and like it was missing something...

    britney spears, why should i be sad vs stupid things
    slim thug this is my life 1st version vs second

  • Yeah you can tell for sure who had more input on a lot of tracks...

    For example This Is Me by Ciara is straight Pharrell. The chords, the drums, arrangement, etc.

    Meanwhile the She Loves Everybody Remix feels like Chad.

  • Staff

    Chad is a genius, also I don't think your descriptions of who contributed what to each song is accurate.

    It's impossible to summarise in a post and also it changed over time - at the beginning it was 90% Chad, 10% Pharrell... and slowly over time that balance shifted to 10% Chad, 90% Pharrell (or even 100% P lately).

    Simple description is that P has ideas and Chad tidies them up and makes them sound good. Also he's a master of "sound" itself - so if you hear any unorthodox effects or sounds then that's also Chad. If it doesn't loop then it's probably Chad. And if a preset somehow sounds thick and full then Chad has gone in and spent time making it sound better. For example that Pharrell "Liverpool bass" sounds always feels much thicker and more realistic on tracks where Chad is also credited.

    However, when they truly come together as The Neptunes and work in the same room it's definitely equal contributions - P's ideas mixed with Chads execution and you're going to hear that on NERD and Justin before the year ends.

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  • @Mavis I would think that P has better execution now than ever, right? I know back in the day Chad used to replay P's phrases and whatnot but I would think P could hold his own in that department.

  • Staff

    @Spaceman said in What's Chad Hugo's contribution to The Neptunes:

    @Mavis I would think that P has better execution now than ever, right? I know back in the day Chad used to replay P's phrases and whatnot but I would think P could hold his own in that department.

    Yeah I think P has grown so much as a producer now. I still don't think he knows how how to add depth or breadth, using theory tricks like inversions and key changes and whatever else. I haven't really heard that stuff often in his solo songs - sit him and hugo next to each other playing the same song and there's no question who would be better able to execute it.

    So, even now it makes sense to let Chad play keys if he's in the room. PS I'm not trying to discredit p in any way. He's a genius.

  • Interesting thread. It reminds me of a except from the 8th Planet DVD - "Is that Pharrell and Chad? Or Chad and Pharrell?"

    Personally, I always consider the beats "Neptune beats" weather produced by Pharrell solely or with Chad. I also always have the fan urge to correct people when they say "Pharrell produced 'drop it likes it's hot" for example -- I always have to say "yeah, Pharrell AND CHAD" -- most of the time people are like "Who's chad? oohh that one Asian guy, etc etc.."

    As Mav said, I am sure there isn't one defined way how they exclusively work -- I'm sure if someone has a really good idea, and they are moving with it, one adds a dash of their magic to it, or there's probably times when they don't do much at all. The Justified DVD really was an awesome watch, how songs like "Rock Your Body" and things were formed. Pharrell yelling things to Chad like "Yo, I need that bridge!" and shit like that. I'm sure their contribution depends on the artist, too

  • A timely reminder of Chad Hugo's excellence:


  • @superjdoug post is removed 😔

  • Staff

    @superjdoug said in What's Chad Hugo's contribution to The Neptunes:

    A timely reminder of Chad Hugo's excellence:


    What was it?

  • @Mavis a video of Travis Scott in Houston. That Jay-Z City is Mine song was in the background.

  • P is more like song writer
    Chad is more like beat maker

  • @Mavis what @Spaceman said, Can't find it anywhere now. First time I heard this before I knew who the neptunes or Chad Hugo were, I just loved that sax so much

  • @Playahater I do think P got The Neptunes sounds perfectly on his own in "Tonight" by Busta Rhymes if is produced by himself. It honestly does sound like Chad Hugo did the baseline and the brass


  • @ECHLN they can for sure replicate each other's style of playing. I remember about a year ago a Chad production came out and it sounded like something P would do from around the 2013-2014 period. And there's this one part in the Justified footage where P's on the Triton and the melody and how he's playing it sounded like something Chad would do. We'll never really know unless they tell us themselves.

  • @ECHLN

    Funny you mention that - to me that beat sounds like a typical one dimensional looped P beat. With that fuckin Taco Bell horn sound.

    I didn't even bother listening to it past a minute when it came out.

  • @Playahater really? I love that song!

  • Justin talks about it at 9:00

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    @Sparknok said in What's Chad Hugo's contribution to The Neptunes:

    Justin talks about it at 9:00

    Yeah but that's only part of the story because what JT doesn't see is Chad making the song in the first place before P starts humming melodies. For example "nothing else" is Chad solo with a couple of added P touches.
    But in the justified documentary all you see is P humming some words to it and playing the latrelle version, and then ordering chad to add a bridge (probably the story JT is referring to).

    Chad stepped back from The Neptunes because he was spending too much time in the studio, until 6am sometimes, working on tracks for people he'd never even met. Do people really think he's putting in all those hours if the only thing he does is add bridges?

    Nah I'm tired of people altering history and diminishing Chad's impact in the golden era 😭😭😭😭 I'm also tired and grouchy

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