Rock Star

Album: In Search Of... (2002)
Charted: 15
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Songfacts®:

  • As The Neptunes, the team of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo produced tracks for Jay-Z ("I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)"), Ol' Dirty Bastard ("Got Your Money"), Britney Spears ("I'm A Slave 4 U"), and several other major artists. In 2002 they released an album of their own, In Search Of..., as N.E.R.D (No-one Ever Really Dies), with "Rock Star" their second single. Heavy on distortion and aggression, it merged nu-metal and rap in a sound that was distinctly 2002.
  • On this track, Williams and Hugo take aim at the posers, declaring that they are the real rock stars here. Rap artists have a long history of announcing their rock dominance; Run-D.M.C. planted their flag as "King of Rock" back in 1985. "Rock" is more of a state of mind in this context, rather than a genre.
  • Pharrell told Rolling Stone: "'Rock Star' is about power. In rap music, there's a lot of songs about fakes and wannabes, but there's not a lot of those songs in rock."
  • The term "Rock Star" was rarely used in song titles until the '00s. In 2007, Shop Boyz hit #2 US with "Party Like A Rock Star"; the same year, Nickelback took "Rockstar" to #6. Hannah Montana (Miley Cyrus) went to #81 the following year with "Rock Star," and Rihanna hit #64 in 2010 with "Rockstar 101." The biggest stars of them all were Post Malone, whose "Rockstar" was a #1 hit in 2017 and DaBaby whose "Rockstar" topped the charts in 2020. Note the various genres covered in these tracks - only Nickelback can claim an association with traditional rock, and some would dispute that.

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