Zane Lowe used his World Record of the day to debut the Kendrick Lamar-featuring fourth single from NERD’s forthcoming album, No_One Ever Really Dies, “Don’t Do It.” The track also features a surprise guest appearance from Frank Ocean. During an interview with the band’s frontman Pharrell Williams, Williams revealed that the song, despite it’s poppy sound and trunk-rattling drums is actually a political record at heart.
“I hid the story in something that’s so jubilant because that way you won’t miss the message,” Williams explained “We have that crazy, crazy man [running the country] but also they have police that shoot unarmed black people the whole time. It rains and they shoot black people.” Kendrick echoes that sentiment in his verse, asking, “How many more of us gotta see the coroner? / Slain by the same badge, stop, wait, break, fast!”
NERD, like many other musicians including Miguel, Vince Staples, and even Gorillaz, have begun slipping more social commentary into their usually upbeat, poppy songs because of the unavoidable nature of the 24-hour news cycle and the desire to avoid sounding “preachy.” It is, in effect, the “spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” theory of giving bad news or important information. No_One Ever Really Dies will finally see its long-awaited release and deliver some much-needed medicine this Friday, December 15th.