Pharell Williams: “The Declaration Of Independence Wouldn’t Exist If Kids Today Wrote It”
Over the course of the lengthy cover story, the artist discusses feelings on past music, the influence Nigo had on his behavior and how he thinks the Declaration of Independence wouldn’t exist if kids today wrote it.
Pharell goes on to discuss his preference in style, gender fludity, and more…
“On Past Music”
“I could never listen to it now, because I was bragging so much. I’m so embarrassed by that. I behaved so obnoxiously. But I didn’t know no better.”
“ I think “Blurred Lines” opened me up. I didn’t get it at first. Because there were older white women who, when that song came on, they would behave in some of the most surprising ways ever. And I would be like, wow. They would have me blushing. So when there started to be an issue with it, lyrically, I was, like, What are you talking about? There are women who really like the song and connect to the energy that just gets you up. And I know you want it—women sing those kinds of lyrics all the time. So it’s like, What’s rapey about that?
And then I realized that there are men who use that same language when taking advantage of a woman, and it doesn’t matter that that’s not my behavior. Or the way I think about things. It just matters how it affects women. And I was like, Got it. I get it. Cool”
“The Influence of Nigo”
I met Nigo, and he didn’t say anything. His cars, his houses, his apartments—he was such an incredible collector. His points of view. But this guy would not say one word. He just bowed all the time. When I went to Japan, I had never met a more humble culture. I was like, These people are so kind, and they have the best taste. Now, at the time , I was still doing, like, my Gangsta Grillz mixtape. I could never listen to it now, because I was bragging so much. I’m so embarrassed by that. I behaved so obnoxiously. But I didn’t know no better. And Nigo’s way of humility, and Tokyo’s way of humility, was seeping into my soul. And then the more I humbled myself down, the less I bragged. The less that I felt like I needed to flex. Humility is a skill set. It’s an art
form. It’s something you work at.
“the Declaration of Independence wouldn’t exist if kids today wrote it…”
“If the internet were around, the Declaration of Independence would’ve never read that way.”
“ so many people would have had a much more informed opinion about humanity. If you are what you do, and not what you say you are, then the definition of what “American” would mean would be very different.
“On Gun Control”
“Right now, gun regulation is not something that we’re very serious about, so we allow people to go and shoot up our schools. That’s American. If you look at what’s going on at our border right now—the handling of people who are seeking asylum in the country—that’s American. If you look at what happened with slavery: That’s American. You know, African Americans—what a beautiful, forgiving culture we are. And we are still gunned down. That is American. But we turn a blind eye to these things as Americans.”
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