Picks and Pans Review: Pharrell

updated 08/07/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/07/2006 01:00AM

In My Mind
REVIEWED BY CHUCK ARNOLD
CRITIC'S CHOICE
RAP/R&B

After his 2003 hit single "Frontin'," two discs with N.E.R.D. and countless cameos, it was inevitable that mega-producer Pharrell Williams would pull a Kanye West and release a solo album. On the long-awaited In My Mind, Pharrell actually one-ups West: He raps and sings, and while he isn't particularly great at doing either—his slow-jam croon won't scare Usher—it hardly matters with his dope bag of studio tricks. On his own, Pharrell gets to stretch out sonically on tracks like the jazzy, Jamie Cullum-assisted "You Can Do It Too." He also receives all-star support from some artists he has produced, including Jay-Z, Nelly and Gwen Stefani, as well as West, who shows up on the catchy single "Number One." But on cuts like the autobiographical "Best Friend," In My Mind really succeeds in allowing you to get inside Pharrell's head.

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