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5 Artists That Could Have Been The 4th Member Of N*E*R*D

Submitted by on November 9, 2009 – 5:53 am49 Comments

N*E*R*D w/ Rhea.

When word trickled to the masses that Pharrell‘s Grammy-nominated band N*E*R*D had added the relatively unknown female pop singer Rhea (middle) to the family, die-hards such as myself were a little perturbed.

Some even went calling the newly formed quartet “sell-outs”, comparing their latest move to a similar maneuver pulled by Black Eyed Peas in ’03 when they acquired Fergie and instantly jumped from backpack-rapper group to pop superstars.

Me? I won’t get involved in all that name-calling! While I don’t believe in changing a good thing, I’m not that harsh. Besides, I trust their judgment; they’ve never let me down in their 8-year existence.

But let’s say that I really did care, and I had a say in choosing the female singer who would add both harmony and estrogen to the house that the boys from Virginia Beach have built. I’m about to have a fantasy draft. Here is my top five, in no particular order.



She was jamming out with these guys way before she got impregnated with God’s Son’s son. Not only was she signed to Pharrell’s Star Trak imprint early in her career, she’s blessed more Neptunes beats than most artists, and performed with them before N*E*R*D existed.

She’s even lent a helping hand to “Truth or Dare” on their 2001 debut In Search Of…, too. Her super eclectic style and raspy but sexy vocals make her fit with P, Chad, and Shae like the last jigsaw puzzle piece.



We haven’t seen this mysterious woman much since legal pressure forced her to change that “O” to an “I” in her stage name, but strangely enough, her latest appearance is on the new N*E*R*D joint that leaked a few weeks ago (listen/download here).

Her sound, while slightly reminiscent of M.I.A.’s, is unique in its own right, and combined with her exceptional songwriting would have been an interesting contrast to what we’re used to from Skateboard P.

Plus, her 80’s pop music vibe could even out their futuristic, outer space-esque sounds.


Janelle Monae

Good things come in small packages. This bundle of joy has stage presence that’s unmatched by any performer I’ve ever seen, and that goes hand-in-hand with N*E*R*D’s live show, which is based around their energetic tracks.

I saw her open up for them in Atlanta, and she got the crowd so hyped you would have thought she was the headlining act. Sure, she may not be as risqué and slightly raunchy as these guys (the lyrics on their earlier work tended to be very blatantly sexual), but you always gotta have one actual nerd in the crew, and she could very well be it.


Teyana Taylor

Everybody’s invested time and energy into her, including P, who signed her to Star Trak last year. But besides the YouTube clips, two leaked singles, a tweet here and there, and possibly the most vicious Sweet 16 episode of all-time, we don’t really know what Teyana’s all about yet.

N*E*R*D could have been the vehicle to showcase the talent that the native New Yorker is rumored to be harboring. She is born in 1990 though. Not even Kanye would call that “old enough.”


Lykke Li

Strange pick? I wouldn’t say so, especially after watching her interview with Nardwuar the Human Serviette, possibly the most unconventional (and most brilliant) musician interviewer of all time.

She spat a verse from A Tribe Called Quest‘s “Can I Kick It?” on the spot with ease and discussed her crazy punk rocker parents running around the house naked during her youth.

That plus her sexy Swedish accent is enough to tell me that she’s got some tricks up her sleeve. She could easily rock a show with those three, while simultaneously bringing some color contrast to the equation.

Again, just to clear up any commotion: I have no problems with their decision. Who knows, Rhea may take the group to places they’ve never been able to get to before. Time will tell. Until then, I’m dreaming about these incredible could-be combinations.

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Am I forgetting anybody?

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