Pharrell Williams Drops Surprise Album ‘VIRGINIA: Black Yacht Rock Vol. 1’: Listen

Pharrell Williams Drops Surprise Album ‘VIRGINIA: Black Yacht Rock Vol. 1’: Listen

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In what has been a rather exciting day for fans of hip hop (courtesy of J. Cole’s surprise drop), Pharrell Williams has quietly released his surprise album VIRGINIA: Black Yacht Rock Vol. 1. Boasting lush guitar arrangements and intricate stacks of vocal harmonies, the 10-track mystery album is available for free download here.

While Pharrell himself has not announced or commented on the release of this project, the album is subtitled The City of Limitless Access and seems to be Pharrell’s spin on the yacht rock genre from the early 70s which was a hallmark of luxury, affluence and sophistication. This is perfectly in line with Pharrell’s status as a high fashion icon and founder of Billionaire Boys Club, and of course, his current role as the creative director of Louis Vuitton.

What is also interesting is the nature of this drop, which so far is not available for streaming on regular platforms. This move comes at an interesting juncture in time, with conversations around streaming pay-outs and alternative models in the music marketplace gaining momentum. From James Blake’s exclusive subscriber based releases to La Russel’s partnership with Even.biz to sell music directly to fans, the industry is visibly reiterating artist-consumer relationships. In this light, Pharrell’s latest drop, too, is likely focused on furthering direct access to fans with a free treat and a subscription form underneath.