Pharrell on JAY-Z’s creative process: “He’s an odd guy”

The N.E.R.D and Neptunes hitmaker revealed that the Roc Nation rapper "writes in falsetto"

Pharrell has lifted the curtain on what it’s like working with JAY-Z, sharing details about the rapper’s creative process in a new interview.

Speaking to Mark Ronson for The FADER Uncovered podcast, Pharrell revealed that one of the things Jay has done in the past while working together is repeat his bars back to him in falsetto because that’s how he’d think them up.

“He’s not good because he’s just made good records, no, he’s really like a character,” Pharrell explained. “He’s an odd guy. If you ever spoke to him, have a conversation with him, it’s not a regular conversation. Or when he writes and he’s just sitting there mumbling to himself, in falsetto, by the way.”


Part way through the chat (around the 21:28 mark), Pharrell mimicked the way Jay raps in falsetto when making songs, using a verse from their 2000 collaboration ‘I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)’ as an example.

“When he writes a rhyme, he doesn’t go, ‘When the Remy’s in the…’ He doesn’t do that,” he said. “He goes, ‘Yo, yo, when the Remy’s in the system, ain’t no tellin’ will I fuck em’, will I diss em’, that’s what they yellin’ I’m a pimp by blood.’ And he taps you on the shoulder and takes it back again. He writes in falsetto.”

He added: “That’s odd and different and weird and amazing and makes him a character.”

You can listen to Pharrell’s chat with Ronson below:

Meanwhile, JAY-Z has become the most Grammy-nominated artist of all time after receiving a further three nods at the 2022 awards.


The rapper now has 83 nominations to his name, with 23 wins overall, pushing him past previous top-spot holder Quincy Jones who has 80 nominations.

Jay’s new title came after he was nominated for guest appearances with Kanye West on the latter’s album ‘DONDA‘ as well as the late DMX.