Watch this video.

Pretty funny.

I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos of producers working in the studio recently, because I’ve been working on hip hop a lot. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s interesting to see how much these celebrities are like ordinary people.

I love that beat. Anyway, look at Pharrell in the video. When he’s on the phone, he’s clearly trying to get Jay-Z’s approval. He looks really nervous at 0:38. When Jay-Z comes in the studio, he’s barely listening to Pharrell. But Pharrell is still clearly approval-seeking.

Look at 2:00, when Pharrell puts on the beat and starts knocking his head. Right at 2:07, he looks at Jay-Z to see if he’s feeling the beat. Approval-seeking. After he sees Jay’s neutral expression, Pharrell’s head-knocking becomes more exaggerated and forced, as if he’s trying to encourage HOVA to like the beat.

It’s awkward.

Doesn’t look anything like the cocky Skateboard P in the video for “Drop it Like It’s Hot.”

Don’t get me wrong though–Pharrell’s the man. One of my favorite producers working right now.

But you can also see how these artists are completely different from ordinary people. Pharrell has so much drive. Listen to him talking at 0:54. The man hustles. He’s successful because he insists on being successful.

And look at Jay-Z. Dude has ridiculous presence. Pharrell doesn’t look small earlier in the video, but when Jay-Z comes in he looks like a skinny little nerd. If you didn’t know who Jay-Z was or what he looked like, but you saw the shot of him at 2:15, you would know that he must be some kind of huge celebrity.

It’s also interesting to me to see how these artists work, which I guess is the main point of these videos. Like, where is Chad Hugo, the other half of the Neptunes? I always wondered why Pharrell was so much more famous than Chad even though they’re both in the hottest mainstream production duo of the decade. But Chad isn’t even in the studio when Pharrell is working with Jay-Z, of all people, on what at the time was thought to be his last album. What is that?

It’s also interesting to see that Pharrell clearly brought up the connection of this song with Carlito’s Way. So Jay-Z didn’t think of that lyric in the song about “Hovito’s Way” by himself. Similarly, in a video where Kanye and Jay-Z are working on “Lucifer,” you can see that Ye came up with the hook “I’m from the murder capital, where we murder for capital.”

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