Top 10 Songs You Didn't Know Were Written by Pharrell Williams

Top 10 Songs You Didn't Know Were Written by Pharrell Williams
VOICE OVER: Sophia Franklin WRITTEN BY: Andy Hammersmith
Who knew these songs were written by Pharrell Williams? For this list, we'll be looking at tracks that aren't widely known as Pharrell songs. Our countdown includes "Hot in Here," "Alright," "Sing," and more!

Top 10 Songs You Didn't Know Were Written by Pharrell Williams

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Songs You Didn’t Know Were Written By Pharrell Williams.

Pharrell Williams

For this list, we’ll be looking at tracks that aren’t widely known as Pharrell songs. His solo career and time in N.E.R.D. doesn’t qualify for this list.

What’s your favorite Pharrell song? Let us know in the comments below.

#10: “Havana” (2017)
Camila Cabello

Latin pop might seem a world away from Pharrell’s regular music output, but that doesn’t stop him from collaborating with an eclectic group of musicians. Take for example Camila Cabello, who’s 2017 release “Havana” made her an international sensation. It’s not Pharrell’s usual genre, but he did work previously with another worldwide star, Shakira. While Pharrell is one of ten credited songwriters on “Havana”, the contribution likely sprinkled on an extra ounce of hit-making magic. Hitting number one in over twenty countries, “Havana” generated a renewed focus on Latin music.

#9: “Girlfriend” (2002)

In the last act of their career, NSYNC dished out this single in early 2002. It was one of the first collaborations between Justin Timberlake and The Neptunes, a production team that consisted of Pharrell and Chad Hugo. While NSYNC entered a hiatus later that year, "Girlfriend" proved that they could have evolved to a whole new level. It strays from NSYNC’s original style, embracing a hip hop sound that was uncharted territory for the group. Later, "Girlfriend" received a remix version with rapper Nelly. It wasn’t the group's biggest song, but it pushed the boundaries of the usual boy band trappings.

#8: “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)” (2000)

For his fifth album, Jay-Z enlisted The Neptunes to keep his success streak going. While Pharrell’s backup vocals tip off his contribution, most people probably thought the writing was all Jay-Z. At the height of the rapper’s initial career, this song was one of many examples that proved Jay-Z was one in a million. This song wasn’t the last collaboration between Pharrell and Jay-Z, nor was it Pharrell’s last massive hip hop record. A lasting influence on the industry, the song inspired Britney Spears to ask The Neptunes to work on her next record.

#7: “Milkshake” (2003)

Is it just a novelty song or something greater? One thing is for sure, Kelis’ “Milkshake” features an unmistakable beat from The Neptunes. Pharrell and Chad Hugo made Kelis' solo career with this record. Pharrell previously worked with Kelis on records such as Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Got Your Money.” There’s a certain power in being able to create a song as infectious, iconic, and entirely unique as this. In an alternate universe, this song was recorded by Britney Spears … who actually passed on it in real life. To this day, it’s unclear what exactly the song refers to, but Kelis sells the hook with her own passionate energy. It’s undeniable that even decades later, “Milkshake” brings us all to the yard.

#6: “Sing” (2014)
Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran’s breakthrough album “X” was nothing short of a musical firecracker, with several highly successful singles. "Sing," the album’s most dance-inducing track, comes courtesy of Sheeran’s work with Pharrell. The song “Sing” consists of all the trademark Pharrell elements. It’s incredibly catchy, features a reliable hook, and includes pronounced and inventive production. Compared to songs like “Thinking Out Loud,” this single stands alone as the most inviting and club ready song on the album. Since Sheeran wanted to evoke the power of Justin Timberlake’s early records, Pharrell became an obvious choice to co-write and produce the song.

#5: “Alright” (2015)
Kendrick Lamar

Off of his landmark album “To Pimp a Butterfly,” Kendrick Lamar’s anthem “Alright” combines poetic lyrics with an expertly crafted beat. Considering how collaborative hip hop records are, it’s only fitting that Lamar linked up with Pharrell to create this now legendary hit. From Jay-Z to Snoop Dogg, Pharrell’s rap credits made him more than qualified to write with Lamar. With his trademark backing vocals, Pharrell contributed to one of the songs of a generation, regardless of genre. Leaving his mark in a wide variety of styles, Pharrell’s production skills helped Lamar’s rap soar over this instant classic.

#4: “I’m a Slave 4 U” (2001)
Britney Spears

For her self-titled third album, Britney Spears went in an entirely new and more mature direction. Distancing herself from her first two records, Britney needed a chance to break from her teen idol status. With the Neptunes, Britney got her wish and more. Controversial to this day, the song’s provocative lyrics sent a shockwave through the pop star’s fan base and the general public. Mirroring what Pharrell would later achieve with Justin Timberlake, the producer/songwriter helped Britney explore an entirely new musical landscape. Whatever people thought of the song on its release, it will forever be the dividing line between the old and the new Britney.

#3: “Hot in Herre” (2002)

An ageless club banger, Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” still puts feet on the dance floor to this day. Few realize that the song was written in part by perennial hitmaker Pharrell. Mix together funk forefather Chuck Brown and Nelly’s charisma and you generate this early 2000s staple. The song skyrocketed to the top of the U.S. charts, taking Nelly to even further heights as one of the hottest rappers in the country. It even won a Grammy the following year. Yet another spectacular showcase of Pharrell’s musical prowess, “Hot in Herre” likely compelled many listeners to follow Nelly’s bold suggestion.

#2: “Rock Your Body” (2003)
Justin Timberlake

As NSYNC dissolved, Justin Timberlake stepped out from the shadow of the boy band to become the superstar we know today. His debut album “Justified” was a sensation upon release, telling the haters that J.T. wouldn’t let his former group be his only legacy. With “Rock Your Body,” Pharrell put Justin’s vocals center stage over a timeless backing track. Along with songs like “Señorita,” Justin proved that his solo career would be anything but a one-off. Setting Justin on the right path, Pharrell’s guidance gave the pop heartthrob the keys to the musical kingdom. If "Rock Your Body," doesn't get you to...rock your body, nothing will.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Hella Good” (2002), No Doubt
A Tightly Produced Dance Pop Smash Courtesy of Gwen & the Neptunes

“Green Light” (2007), Beyoncé
An Underrated Queen B Single with a Mix of Throwback & New R&B Styles

“Sweet Life” (2012), Frank Ocean
A Soulful Showcase of Frank’s Lyrical Talents & Pharrell’s Production Skills

“Drop It Like It’s Hot” (2004), Snoop Dogg
A Signature Snoop Rap with Pharrell’s Inventive & Minimal Beats

“Hit Different” (2020), SZA
SZA’s Inimitable Voice Lifts Pharrell’s Timeless Songwriting Abilities

#1: “Hollaback Girl” (2005)
Gwen Stefani

We can’t think of a more recognizable drum beat in the history of pop music. Pharrell’s talents provided a drumline to underscore Gwen’s massive crossover hit. While she might’ve spent the previous decade making rock and ska music, the Neptunes helped bring the No Doubt singer a career defining hip-hop smash. Once again reinvigorating a solo career, Pharrell and Chad Hugo defined a cultural moment with their work on "Hollaback Girl." Call it a rallying cry or just a hugely catchy song, Gwen's iconic statement was served up via Pharrell's music magic. Most importantly, she taught a whole generation how to spell “bananas”!