Pharrell Talks Jay Z, Tyler, the Creator & Girls in ‘GQ’ Cover Story

By Shannon Carlin

Pharrell is getting honest, like really honest, with GQ for a profile in which he talks about his last solo album, wanting to be like Jay Z and how the female race, along with Tyler the Creator‘s oddness, influenced his new record.

In the interview, Pharrell, who yes, is wearing that GRAMMY hat, actually admits that his last solo effot, 2006’s In My Mind, was nothing to brag about, mostly because it wasn’t really him. “I wrote those songs out of ego. Talking about the money I was making and the by-products of living that lifestyle. What was good about that? What’d you get out of it?” Pharrell said. “There was no purpose. I was so under the wrong impression at that time.”

He admits that the album with all its luxurious references was his attempt to be like Jay Z. “That was just bragging,” he said. “I wanted to be like Jay. I wanted to be like Puff. Those are their paths. I got my own path. But I didn’t know what my path was. I knew that I was meant to do something different. I knew that I needed to inject purpose in my music.”

That’s what he’s trying to do with his latest album, G I R L, which he says is named in honor of his biggest fans. “I instantly knew that the name of the album was called G  I  R  L, and the reason why is because women and girls, for the most part, have just been so loyal to me and supported me,” he said.

Adding, “There is no breathing human being on this planet that did not benefit by a woman saying yes twice. Yes to make you, and yes to have you. Point-blank.”

(Paola Kudacki / GQ)(Paola Kudacki / GQ)

The album was also influenced by Tyler, the Creator who is nearly 20 years his junior. But he understood where Tyler was coming from.

“Being a young black kid, especially at that time,I was different from all my other peers,” he explained. “So when I seen that this dude was saying he was open to rock and jazz and f***ing skateboarding and all this other stuff that I was interested in, I was gravitating toward it because it was like: ‘All right, I’m not the only black dude who’s probably called weird every f***ing day.’”

The piece also takes a look at the power of Pharrell, who, according to Hans Zimmer, composed a song for the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man 2 soundtrack on his phone in five minutes. Zimmer says he and Johnny Marr, who is also working on the movie soundtrack, were just sitting there, arguing about chord changes “and by the time we’re finished, he’s written a fully formed song.” Pretty impressive. Though maybe it has something to do with him having synesthesia, which means he sees colors when he hears sounds. He says when he thinks of his childhood he sees burgundy and baby blue, in strings of numbers and letters.

Pharrell also revealed he’s working with Usher on a song called “Year of the Horse,” which will be out sometime this year, the actual Year of the Horse according to the Chinese Zodiac. Apparently Pharrell is also very persuasive and actually convinced Usher that he should make a video that echoes Ginuwine’s “Pony.” Yes, Usher is heading to the rodeo.

“Let’s speak metaphorically through the rodeo world!” he suggested to Usher over the phone. “I f***ing held a lamb in a Robin Thicke video. And people were into it!”

We have no idea what any of that means, but we’re sure it will be amazing.

Read the full interview with Pharrell on


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