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There is nothing greater than meeting your idol—except collaborating with them. Just ask Tyler, The Creator.
In a Facebook essay he posted yesterday, the rapper celebrated the 10th anniversary of Pharrell’s debut solo album, In My Mind. He discussed how, at 15, the album shaped the musician he is today and credits it as being the reason he started Odd Future:
“EVERYTHING YOU DID WAS FOR THE ECLECTIC. BUT YOU KNOW WHO IT DID HIT: YOUNG TYLER. THAT SONG [YOU CAN DO IT TOO] SPECIFICALLY MADE ME FEEL SAFE, AND IS WHY I CREATED ODD FUTURE THAT SAME SUMMER.”
Tyler wrote (in all caps of course), that having no father figures in his life made him look to Pharrell as a male figure he could admire. He recalled buying every magazine that mentioned Pharrell and The Neptunes and said he still owns VHS tapes of every televised appearance of them from 2002 to 2005. Young Tyler memorized all their music productions and Ice Cream clothing designs. He discussed specific baselines, outros and the shameless MySpace lurking he did while listening to In My Mind:
“BEING 15, BLACK, NOT REALLY ‘INTERESTED’ IN WHAT THE MAJORITY OF MY PEERS WERE INTO, IT MADE ME FEEL SOME TYPE OF WAY. I WAS AN OPTIMISTIC KID, ALWAYS DAYDREAMING AND SETTING GOALS SO I FELT YOU WERE DIRECTLY SPEAKING TO ME.”
This isn’t the first time Tyler has been a major fanboy for Pharrell. Back in 2010, before Tyler was a household name, he expressed his wish for The Neptunes to hear his music.
Fuck It, I Need Pharrell And Chad To Hear OFWGKTA, That’s The Fucking For Right Now
— Tyler, The Creator (@fucktyler) September 4, 2010
The next year, Tyler’s wish came true. On top of having the cover story on Billboard where he again discussed his heroes, Tyler finally got to meet them in person. He took to Twitter to express how unbelievable it was for him to meet his idol.
As their relationship grew, the father-son dynamic between the two seemed to grow as well. In 2012, Pharrell squashed the Twitter feud between Tyler and Miley Cyrus when he brought the two in the studio together to work on Cyrus’ Bangerz album. He tweeted a picture of the crew together in the studio, though Pharrell seemed to be the only one excited.
Pharrell seemed to be returning all of Tyler’s sentiments, telling Billboard in 2013, “He and I are the same person.” When asked if he had any advice for the artist, he said, “to continue to search and never become complacent.” The same year, the hero and student collaborated on Pusha T’s “Trouble On My Mind.”
Despite collaborating with his hero and building a genuine relationship, Tyler still didn’t stop fanboying. Pharrell surprised his friend by bringing fellow N.E.R.D Chad Hugo on stage during 2014’s Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival, making Tyler’s dream of a reunion a reality.
Tyler got emotional during the reunion and was seen turned away from the stage with his head in his hands. Afterwards, Tyler interviewed Pharrell and reacted exactly like we would if we interviewed our heroes.
Confirming our theory, he referred to Kanye West and Pharrell as his dads in an Instagram post.
His dad lent a helping hand to Tyler’s 2015 release, Cherry Bomb, with Pharrell appearing on “Keep Da O’s.” The leading track, “F—ing Young,” was based on his hero as well. Not one for singing, Tyler admits he took a chance because, well, Pharrell told him to:
“[Pharrell] was like, ‘Dude, listen to Barry White and Isaac Hayes, see how they use their voice and sing about some wild shit.’ That’s why ‘F—ing Young’ is the first single.”
Now close friends, the duo have been seen together at events throughout the year, including working on Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo and appearing on Beats 1 with Hugo, Justin Timberlake and Scott Vener.
If their relationship is proof of anything, it’s to never give up on meeting your idols. Because one day, they could end up being your co-worker.
A photo posted by Pharrell Williams (@pharrell) on