The duo behind hits from Kelis and Jay-Z will release their debut LP under the name of N.E.R.D....

THE NEPTUNES, the production duo behind hits by JAY-Z, MYSTIKAL and KELIS, are set to release their own debut album later this spring, following time spent producing new material by MICHAEL JACKSON and ex-RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE frontman ZACK DE LA ROCHA, NME.COM can exclusively reveal.

Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo will release ‘In Search Of…’ through Virgin during late spring/early summer. The album, released by the pair under the guise of N.E.R.D., will be preceded by a single, ‘Lap Dance’, in April.

Speaking exlcusively to NME.COM about the release, Williams explained the choice of name under which they chose to work.

“It’s us, it’s The Neptunes plus one. It’s an acronym – ‘Nobody Ever Really Dies’. It’s just something we believe. It is what it means to you and it is what it means to us and hopefully it’s the same thing, and if it doesn’t, then that’s what that means.”

Maintaining a cryptic tone, he added: “The title of the album is ‘In Search Of…’ and that’s basically the same thing. You know, we hope you find it in our album and or we hope that our album plants the seed to spread out some land off of the branch and you land somewhere you want to be at.

“For me it’s a journal about a whole bunch of girls I’ve been through shit with. For the rest of the world the album is all sex and politics – you know we want to challenge… I ain’t gonna say we want to challenge political views, we want to challenge political behaviour, like how politicians act and the things that they do and bite at just for the attention, and money and sex is definitely gonna be a big issue in 2001. So we wanna exploit that – it’s like a news piece, that’s all it is.”

Further information about the nature of their work with De La Rocha and Michael Jackson was not available at press time.