Ubiquitous production team the Neptunes is working on a star-studded compilation featuring artists from its Star Trak label. Due Aug. 5, "Star Trak Presents... Clones" is described by Neptunes princip
Ubiquitous production team the Neptunes is working on a star-studded compilation featuring artists from its Star Trak label. Due Aug. 5, "Star Trak Presents... Clones" is described by Neptunes principal Chad Hugo as "our official stamp album. It's a compilation to wave the flag and let people know about the label. We produced everything here."
Among the artists slated to appear are Dirt McGirt (formerly Ol' Dirty Bastard), Usher, Clipse, Foxy Brown, Kelis, Busta Rhymes, Spymob, and up-and-coming Star Trak signees Rosco P. Coldchain and Vanessa Marquez. The Neptunes' band, N*E*R*D, contributes the new track "Loser," while Neptunes member Pharrell Williams offers the solo cut "Frontin," featuring Jay-Z.
Hugo says he is particularly excited to be working again with McGirt, whose 1999 Elektra album "Nigga Please" featured production by the Neptunes. Hugo describes the song featured on "Clones," titled "Operator," as "an attempt to bring him back to the essence of [the ODB hit] 'Brooklyn Zoo,' where you get an adrenaline rush when you listen to it."
The Neptunes recorded at least one other song with McGirt (who was recently released from jail) but Hugo is hesitant to reveal further details. "We're open to working with him more," he offers. "I'd love to do his whole album."
Usher's track, "Sweet Lies," may wind up being a duet. "It's on a classic R&B tip, mixed with our version of Michael Jackson today," Hugo says of the song. As for "Loser," Hugo enthuses, "to me, that is a stadium anthem. Someone said we should submit it to the Olympics. Everyone sings 'We Are the Champions,' but this is 'We Are the Champions' and 'Dr. Who' mixed together."
Meanwhile, N*E*R*D is "about 40%" through with its sophomore studio album, which will find Hugo and Williams playing the instruments themselves. "The last album, we had Spymob help us," he says. "This time around, most of the record, we'll program things and play them ourselves. I don't really even play guitar or bass but I've picked it up along the way. Pharrell is playing drums and keys."
N*E*R*D will play dates this summer on the Sprite Liquid Mix tour, backed by Spymob. Hugo and Williams are also squeezing in production work on Britney Spears' next Jive studio set, of which Hugo will say only, "we have some ideas but it's just a matter of going in and doing it."
Here is the tentative tracklist for "Clones" (order to be determined):
"Delinquent," Rosco P. Coldchain
"Hot," Rosco P. Coldchain
"Popular Thug," Kelis featuring Nas
"I Love You Baby," Spymob
"Frontin," Pharrell Williams featuring Jay-Z
"Rock & Roll," Fam-Lay
"Hot Damn," Clipse featuring Ab-Liva, Pharrell, and Rosco P. Coldchain
"Blaze of Glory," Clipse
"Good Girl," Vanessa Marquez
"The Don of Dons," Foxy Brown & Supercat
"Sweet Lies," Usher
"Light Your A** on Fire," Busta Rhymes
"For the Kids," High Speed Scene
"Operator," Dirt McGirt