9 Things We Learned From Pharrell's 'Drink Champs' Interview

Pharrell dropped plenty of gems during his three-hour sitdown with 'Drink Champs.' Here are the highlights.

View this video on YouTube


Pharrell's recent sit-down with Drink Champs was one for the books. The interview spanned more than three hours and addressed a wide range of topics, including music, fashion, and his Virginia roots. For those who've yet to give it a listen, or simply want a recap, we've broken down some of the highlights of the interview below.

You can also check out Pharrell's full Drink Champs appearance above, where he also shared stories on Britney Spears, Clipse vs. Jive Records, and more.

One of the most-talked about moments during the episode was when Pharrell weighed in on the highly publicized beef between Drake and Pusha-T. Pharrell told hosts N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN that the since-squashed drama continues to "break his heart," as he considered both artists to be good people and amazing talents.

"I didn't wanna see that go that way. That didn't make me happy," he said. "I hate to see what him (Pusha) and Drake are going through—or what they went through. I hated to see all of it, every bit of it ... it wasn't good."

Pharrell also said he would have loved to hear a Pusha and Drizzy joint, but accepts that there were lines crossed—on both sides—that might make such a collaboration difficult.

"That's the thing with rap. There should be rules, but there's kind of no rules, and people will do and say anything," he said. "... I didn't want to see this. I just think they're two super talented guys ... Black people, and especially Black men, we haven't had it so easy in this country ... I want to say, 'You guys, you guys are both living great lives. And sure, there's been some overstepping on both parts, I'll say. We're better than this. We're too zoomed in right now. We need to zoom out and see the bigger picture ... We're stronger together."

Pharrell revealed that Justin Timberlake's 2020 debut solo album Justified wasn't originally intended for the ex-*NSYNC member. He says all but one of the project's tracks were first offered to Michael Jackson, but the late King of Pop turned the records down.

"John McClain was [Jackson's] manager at the time. We sent him pretty much all the stuff y'all are hearing on the Justified album," Pharrell said, recalling the conversations took place around the "You Rock My World" era. "... All but one song, they were all written for Michael ... John McClain was like, 'Man Michael don't want that shit. He wants that shit you're giving Noreaga.' No bullshit, he was like, 'Yo, he want that 'Superthug.'"

There's no doubt that Pharrell contributed to Bape's popularity within the U.S. He was one of the first big names to wear the Japanese brand at a time when it was losing relevancy in the East. He is widely credited for helping revive the streetwear imprint throughout early and mid-aughts; however, fans have noticed Skateboard P has ditched the brand over the past decade. Why? Because its founder, Nigo, is no longer at the helm.

"He sold Bape ... a long time ago," Pharrell said about Nigo, whom he met in 2002 through Jacob the Jeweler.

"Oh, he sold Bape?" N.O.R.E. said. "So who own Bape now?

"Not my brother, not the general, so I don't wear it," Pharrell said. "I haven't worn Bape since, shit, '08? No disrespect to them or whatever, but it ain't Nigo."

Though Snoop Dogg's 2002 hit "Beautiful" earned The Neptunes a Grammy, Pharrell admits he wasn't initially feeling the song. He said he and Chad Hugo—the other half of the legendary production duo—played it for Snoop along with "From tha Chuuuch to da Palace," and Snoop immediately wanted the former.

"He really loved 'Beautiful.' I didn’t get 'Beautiful' mainly because I was on there singing flat as fuck and just didn’t hear it," Pharrell said. "I thought it was a fun record, and then we put Charlie Wilson on it, I was like, 'Man, Charlie sounding amazing, and this feels good to me, but no one’s ever gonna go for this. I thought 'From tha Chuuuch to da Palace' was harder, and then when that record popped, I was like, 'Wow.' And Snoop’s always been that guy that’s like, 'Yo, take me there. I trust you.'"

Though he was involved with Wreckx-n-Effect's 1992 hit "Rump Shaker," Pharrell insists he was not the record's true producer—as many hip-hop heads believe. He said the first time he met Teddy Riley, the music legend was in the studio working on the record, and was apparently having trouble with a verse. Riley, who would become Pharrell's mentor, asked the young producer if he could assist. Pharrell, of course, obliged.

"It was like 11 o'clock at night. They had everything," Pharrell said, adding Aqil Davidson and Markell Riley had already recorded their verses. "And Teddy was like, 'Yo, I heard you rap?' I was like, 'Yeah.' He was like, 'Can you write my verse for me?' I was like, 'All right, cool.' So, I went in and I don't know, 30, 40 minutes ... But no, I could've ever made that beat. That beat transcended genres to me."

Jackson wasn't the only icon who rejected Pharrell's offer. He told Drink Champs that his 2003 joint "Frontin," featuring Jay-Z, was first offered to the late Prince.

"Prince was so cool. I've tried for years to make records for him," Pharrell recalled. "My first attempt at making a record for him was 'Frontin.' He didn't want it ... I think he heard the melodies—again, it's been so long—he might've heard the hook and maybe the melodies ... No, I think I wrote a different version of it for him. He wasn't into it."

The track ultimately became Pharrell's debut solo single, but he admits he was trying to channel Prince when he recorded it: "That was me pretending to be him."

Pharrell spoke about the feud between Drake and Pusha T, briefly touching on the rumored Adidas deal allegedly named after his son Adonis.

"He did. He did have a deal there. But again, all of this was unbeknownst to me," Pharrell said. "Drake told me that he had a situation there, but I didn't know that any of this would ever come up."

This marked the first time someone important at Adidas, other than Pusha himself, has publicly confirmed the Drake and Adidas deal.

One aspect of the interview that was quite surprising, at least considering how he appeared on and produced Pusha-T's anti-snitch track "S.N.I.T.C.H.," is when Pharrell suggested that he would cooperate with the feds if he was asked to. "Literally, I'm not a tough guy, I'm staying my ass inside and the fucking FBI is on speed dial, bro. I'm not a fucking tough guy," said Pharrell before later admitting that he would straight-up snitch because he "wasn't built for this."

He continued, "You people say things about snitching... I'm fucking snitching! Don't talk to me about all that. Everybody plays their part, this is a movie, you guys, everybody plays their part." While Pharrell has never really made any claims to be a tough guy, it's still not something you hear very often from any rappers outside of perhaps Tekashi 6ix9ine. Admittedly, Pharrell appears not to have actually snitched, however.

"Don't do nothing around me, I'm not built for the jail life," he added. "I am snitching! The fuck you mean? You can't get mad at me. I have a purpose, I have to be me, I have to do my job, and I have to play my part in this movie. And my part is, 'I told you not to do that shit.' ... Everybody's not fucking tough. You're not gonna go do 25 years in a condition that you know you are not built for because you wanna look tough. I am not fucking tough. You know what I wanna look like? Fucking free and happy, living my life."

About 14 minutes into the interview, N.O.R.E. reminded Pharrell of the time he referenced Vanilla Ice when proposing a flow.

"He was like, yo, listen to Vanilla Ice 'Ice Ice Baby,'" N.O.R.E. said. "You remember that? You know what that was? 'Young'n (Holla Back).' I said, no, I can't fuck with Vanilla Ice."

Ultimately, the task went to Fabolous for the Neptunes-produced 2001 single from Ghetto Fabolous:

View this video on YouTube


Latest in Music