[31] N*E*R*D featuring Lee Harvey and Vita, ‘Lapdance’

No One Ever Really Dies. They should be called N*O*E*R*D, shouldn’t they? Unless they’re spelling it Noone Ever Really Dies, in which case it’s a) nonsense and b) a poorly worded threat to the blameless Herman’s Hermits singer. Actually, I think it’s meant to be No-one, but point stands. Still, far be it from Pharrell Williams to be a berk. Scratch that – far be it from early 2000s Pharrell Williams to be a berk. Just off the back of Kelis’s immense debut Kaleidoscope and other scorching Neptunes productions, he and Chad Hugo and other mucker Shay Haley had plenty of leeway to make the pretty self-indulgent hip hop/rock/R&B hybrid In Search Of…, and it worked. Lead track ‘Lapdance’ is seedy as it should be, aggressive and – surprisingly rare quality, this – genuinely thrilling. Then they decided to re-record In Search Of… with a propah rawk band and it turned into Limp Bizkit. That’s one fine line. The original rock-facsimile just packed the greater punch.

Junior says: “It’s crazy.” Mind you, she barely heard it, what with me using the one-two combo of coughing and putting my hands over her ears for every “motherf***er” and “n****r”. I think she caught a beat at the end of the ninth bar.

Best bit:
The intro. Croaking quasi-guitar and dirty dawgs.

[7] Jay-Z ‘I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)’

He was already well-enough-established by this point, largely thanks to forever soiling his legacy for a hit with the Little Orphan Annie-sponsored ‘Hard Knock Life’ back in 1998 – but now, right here, was where The Hov was riding highest: this hard-funk cut with ego on all cylinders, and The Blueprint album coming fast in the pipeline.

No diss-respect to Jay-Z’s laconic flow and easy rhyming, but the heavy lifting is handled by The Neptunes, and Pharrell Williams in particular. In 2001, before the horror of N*E*R*D’s second album, everything Williams touches is still turning gold and the descending, clipped riff and falsetto chorus are what makes ‘…Give It 2 Me’. So there.

Now, onto the Does Hip-Hop Have A Place At Glastonbury? debate…

Jokes. Junior took it easy, waiting for a good two or three minutes before clapping along to the springboard bass, bang on the rhythm. Come to think of it, I’m not sure she’s ever heard any of Noel Gallagher’s work – we can be pretty sure she won’t find much swing there.

[8] Ol’ Dirty Bastard featuring Kelis, ‘Got Your Money’


It’s a sensitive treatise on Child Support. It’s a generous offer to appear in a pop video. It’s a flipped-out, garbled, screaming funk monster with a Kelis on top. Once again, there’s a thin line between inspiration and eyeballs-on-stalks insanity, and ODB (RIP) just pogos from one side to the other.

The Neptunes produced this, sneaking their protégée in on chorus duties, and it’s an early sign of the bounce and originality they’d go on to sprinkle over piles and piles of records – before deciding a couple of years ago that N*E*R*D were flippin’ Supertramp or something, and messing everything up. Kelis does a perfunctory job, saving her best stuff for the greatest female r&b album ever (honest, look it up somewhere).

There’s a school of thought that this record’s a bit rude for a 10-month-old’s ears. Ah, come on, she can’t understand. Can she? While storing up a cache of colourful language, Junior gets into the groove from the first beat. She looks delighted that I’ve even put it on. The cool kids at nursery have probably been talking about it.