20060408

Coupe Got Vitiligo

Pharrell: Renegotiations
In My Mind (The Prequel)

Listening to Pharrell rap can be hard. Listening to him talk is easier. And Heathcliff is right when he says P. makes "bling a childlike fancy." Take this strange shout-out directed at gold-studded oblivion. There are many sides to the infantilism at work here, all as naïve and grotesque as a baby gurgling under a five pound Gucci chain. Pharrell himself goes totally toddler, showing Sally the dirt mound he's been working on during recess for a week while explaining how darn cool it is. "I just renegotiated my contract with Louis Vuitton," he says, all puffy. Sally's stare is blank. "My contract is crazy." Still nothing. "C'mon, it's Luis Vuitton." Uh huh. "Louis Vuitton!" At this point Sally walks away and the soon-to-be marching band nerd decides to discuss things with his imaginary companion, Mr. Me Too, who's usually more impressed with his musings.

Who does Pharrell really think he's talking to here? Best guess is the fans, who he waggishly appeases near the end ("I love my fuckin' fans, man"). As a fan, I can't relate to his wealth. It's unfortunate, because he makes being rich sound better than Diddy ever did. "Who would we ever meet would be able to create your own diamond cut?" he asks. It's a clumsy line, but the key is "we." Pharrell wants to bring everyone on his ride, show them the Italian models and fit them into his "mall-ish" Miami getaway. For a guy who's had too much money for a while, he's still excited by new ventures and opportunities. It's refreshing and kinda weird.

I can't help but think of Pharrell's scene in Fade to Black while listening to "Renegotiations." In it, he gets worked up over what we now know as the "Allure" beat, strutting around the studio and summoning Jay post-haste. Let's face it, the beat is ok. But Leonardo P. thinks it's just as good as anything else he's done. It's like he's got Guy Pierce's Memento memory. But instead of getting all insular and paranoid, he goes back into tike overalls every 20 minutes or so, eye-popping at ugly sneakers, girls who say "pussy" funny and silly Elton John sunglasses. "The rung is a step in a ladder," he states with knowing pride later on in the tape. Whenever they make a black Big, we know who'll be 13 going on 7.