N.E.R.D. appeared in 1999. It’s an abbreviation for No One Ever Really Dies. The founders are a drummer Pharrell Williams and a keyboardist Chad Hugo. Together with Shay Haley, the young men attended the same high school. All three were neighbors.
When the young musicians were in the 7th grade, they went to a music camp, in which Chad played the sax and Pharrell mastered drums. Later, the two boys formed their own group and performed at talent shows. The producer Teddy Riley spotted the duo. He hired them to write the lyrics to the song “Rump Shaker” for the group Wreckx-n-Effect.
Later, a popular hip-hop artist Sean Combs (better known as Diddy or Puff Daddy) noticed the musicians. He invited the young men to become producers for Mase and Total. The duo turned into a producing team The Neptunes. It quickly earned popularity in the music business.
The first fame came to Chad and Pharrell after they worked on N.O.R.E.’s (who back then was known as Noreaga) song “Superthug”. The song became the best rap track of 1998.