Since N.E.R.D. announced their return with the upcoming No One Ever Really Dies LP, we've heard the Rihanna-assisted lead single "Lemon," the since-deleted Andre 3000 collaboration, "Rollinem 7's," and the Future-featuring "1000." Now, before the album's release this Friday (December 15), the trio has shared "Don't Don't Do It," which fans at ComplexCon got to see performed live.
Pharrell explained then that the track was inspired by the death of Keith Scott, and while speaking to Zane Lowe on Beats 1 earlier today, he praised collaborator Kendrick Lamar's artistry and revealed how Frank Ocean earned a credit on the track.
"To me, Kendrick is, like, probably a jazz artist reincarnated, the way that he handles a pen is like how Miles Davis handles a trumpet, or how Coltrane's fingers just shifted through his saxophone keys. Like, his melodies are as prolific and what he has to say has so much harmony and so much color in it....You're arguing, you're asking yourself, 'Is it brilliant colorful scribble or is it, like, really eloquent calligraphy?' Is the way he's rhyming, the syncopation of what he's doing, is that a drum roll or is that, like, an AR-15 with a banana clip? What is that? That is what a jazz musician is always able to do, a really good one."
"Frank wrote the intro. 'It makes no difference in this life'...that was Frank. And if you listen to it, that's totally like something that Frank would sing....He is the art of no compromise, no concession, and very colorful with it. And that's what I feel like is very interesting about his journey because if you understand him then you know anything that he's ever done is just what he's really, really, really felt. Nothing ever feels like a mistake with him but, of course, we all as human beings make mistakes, but his ability to make nothing feel like a mistake or feel like everything has purpose, even his flaws, just seems to be artful and well thought-out."
More mainstream-melodic than its predecessors, "Don't Don't Do It" utilizes both groovy electro keys and a raucous guitar riff before Lamar delivers a high-speed verse.