The first edition of the then cutting-edge project, N.E.R.D.’s In Search Of… released in the U.K. on August 6, 2001. On March 12, 2002, they released the reworked, U.S. version of the album worldwide. On the rework, funk-rock band Spymob‘s live instrumentation replaced the original album’s electronic soundscape. For the first time, In Search Of…’s “electronic version” and “rock version” have been paired. Including seven rare unreleased tracks, this new deluxe 4LP vinyl set and the expanded deluxe digital edition of the first version will be available October 25th.
In Search Of…’s first edition sounds more like The Neptunes we’ve all come to know and love. Back then, David Browne raved about the album’s “rock version” in Entertainment Weekly. “In Search Of… has a crackling vigor missing from the first stab, and its mélange of genres makes for music unlike anything else around.” MOJO also praised it, saying, “It is quizzical, troubled, socially concerned, compassionate, schizoid, retro-eclectic, strikingly modern, racially mixed–and even likes women.” Rolling Stone gave the album it four stars, sealing the deal to peg the group as an intimidating force in the industry.
In 2001, Pop music was on a decline. After the height of a bubblegum teen pop dynasty dream, the music industry generally leaned more toward grit than glamour. Virginia‘s N.E.R.D. filled the space in between. After taking over the underground club scene with their work on Mystikal‘s fourth studio album, Let’s Get Ready. It was Mystikal’s first album since leaving No Limit Records. The next year, they reinvigorated Britney Spears‘ influence with “Im a Slave 4 U” as she ventured deeper into the risqué.
N.E.R.D.’s industry domination would last for almost a decade. Their last studio album, 2017’s No One Ever Really Dies, peaked at number 13 on the US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album chart. Aside from Pharrell Williams‘ solo success (who hasn’t heard “Happy”?), the group remains as a pillar of genre-bending hybridization.
Pre-order the In Search Of… Deluxe 4LP Vinyl Edition before it becomes available here.