Pharrell Williams Releases Surprise Album To Celebrate 51st Birthday

Pharrell Williams surprised music fans with a new album, the first full-length release from the Grammy Award winning producer in over a decade.

On Friday (April 5), which marked Williams’ 51st birthday, the Virginia native unveiled Black Yacht Rock, Vol. 1: City of Limitless Access, a 10-track project available solely through the website The album, which appears to be inspired by his home state, includes the songs “Richard Mille,” “Dandy Lying,” “Caged Bird Free,” “11:11” and “Going Back to VA.”

Black Yacht Rock, Vol. 1: City of Limitless Access follows Williams’ 2014 album, GIRL, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with 113,000 copies sold in its first week of release. Featuring guest appearances by Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus, Daft Punk, JoJo, and Alicia Keys, GIRL was led by the seismic smash “Happy” and earned gold certification from the RIAA

Pharrell Williams attends the Mighty Dream Forum Hosted By Pharrell Williams 2022 on November 01, 2022 in Norfolk, Virginia.

Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Mighty Dream Forum

The N.E.R.D. member garnered headlines amid news of his ongoing legal dispute with Chad Hugo, Williams’ longtime partner as the production duo The Neptunes. According to reports, the childhood friends and collaborators are in a battle regarding the ownership rights to the Neptunes name, which Hugo alleges Williams has fraudulently claimed.

The producer says that Williams is in violation of an agreement the pair previously made to split all royalties and profits in relation to the Neptunes name. “Throughout their over thirty year history, [Hugo] and Williams agreed to, and in fact, have divided all assets,” said Hugo’s attorney, Kenneth D. Freundlich.

“By ignoring and excluding [Hugo] from the any and all applications filed by applicant for the mark ‘The Neptunes,’ applicant has committed fraud in securing the trademarks and acted in bad faith.”

Chad Hugo Wearing Black

Inductee Chad Hugo of The Neptunes speaks onstage at the Songwriters Hall of Fame 51st Annual Induction and Awards Gala at Marriott Marquis on June 16, 2022 in New York City.

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall of Fame

However, a representative for Williams says that the hitmaker has reached out to Hugo in an attempt to split profits earned from the Neptunes trademark, insisting that they’re making concerted efforts to rectify the matter.

“We have reached out on multiple occasions to share in the ownership and administration of the trademark and will continue to make that offer,” the rep told Billboard. The goal here was to make sure a third party doesn’t get a hold of the trademark and to guarantee Chad and Pharrell share in ownership and administration.”