Charles Edward « Chad » Hugo (born February 24, 1974) is an American musician and record producer. He is best known as one half of the music production and writing duo The Neptunes and as a member of N.E.R.D. He is a saxophonist, pianist and guitarist. Along with his production partner Pharrell Williams, he has produced numerous number-one hit tracks.
Hugo was born in the South Hampton Roads city of Portsmouth, Virginia to Filipino parents. He grew up in Virginia Beach; his father is a retired Navy officer while his mother was a laboratory technician. Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo met at the age of 12 at a summer camp for musicians, which they both disliked. The two began working together, mixing beats and playing in various live bands. In 1992, while the two were attending different high schools in Virginia Beach (Hugo at Kempsville High School), Williams was paid to write a verse to the 1992 single « Rump Shaker », by Wreckx-n-Effect.
After several years of occasional productions for artists often associated with founder Teddy Riley, such as BLACKstreet and SWV, they scored songwriting and production assignments with artists such as N.O.R.E. and Mystikal, which became hits, allowing them to produce with their own distinctive sound for megastars such as Jay-Z. Hugo signed a global music publishing deal with BMG Music Publishing.
In August 2002, The Neptunes were named Producers of the Year at both The Source Awards and the Billboard Music Awards. The album The Neptunes Presents… Clones was then released, debuting at number one in August 2003.
Hugo has been described by The Source Magazine as the « Mr Spock » to Williams’ « Captain Kirk », an analogy that does not sit well with Hugo, as he does not see himself as « stiff » like « Mr Spock ». However, he does say Williams usually provides the beat (as the drummer of the duo) and most of the melodies to the Neptunes productions, whereas his role lies more in as a ‘one man band’ and sequencer. Despite this he states that their roles are flexible and do interchange, and has shown his ability away from band-mate Williams, in producing Kenna’s 2003 album New Sacred Cow. Hugo also did the majority of the production on Make Sure They See My Face, Kenna’s second album, and Kenna’s 2011 EP Land 2 Air Chronicles I – Chaos & The Darkness.
In 2011, Hugo created a DJ team called « Missile Command », along with Daniel Biltmore. The duo signed a deal with Fool’s Gold Records to release their music. They have released two mixtapes, 2011’s « Foolcast #22 », and 2013’s « Why Fight the Space Age? ». Hugo also created an alternative band with Paul Banks called No Planes In Space. More recently Hugo has done production on Earl Sweatshirt’s debut album, Doris, No Malice’s debut album, Hear Ye Him, and also with Odd Future’s spin off group The Internet on their second album, Feel Good. Hugo and Kenna also collaborated on Kenna’s new EP Land 2 Air Chronicles II: Imitation Is Suicide, which was released on September 3, 2013. Hugo and Malaysian artist Yuna also collaborated on her 2013 album, Nocturnal, for the song « Someone Who Can ». Under his moniker Neo-Thrift-Musica, Hugo produced « Rituals » (the third track on the Carbon Harbingers album) for the Norfolk, VA based hip-hop group Fugitive 9.
Also for 2014 Hugo worked with K-Pop group Red Velvet for the song « Happiness », DJ Qbert for the song « Ascender (Agartha) » from Qberts’ album Extraterrestria, and Kid Sister for her DUSK2DAWN: The Diary Of Jane Jupiter Mixtape for the song « Higher ». Hugo also released remixes for Graph Gonzales’ « Heartbreaker », St. Vincents’ « Digital Witness » and Little Dragons’ ″Killing Me ». Hugo’s DJ group MSSLCMNMD also released remixes for artists such as Graph Gonzales, Sam Smith, Denetia and Sene, Fleetwood Mac and other artits. MSSLCMNMD also produced Graph Gonzales’ first single ″Heartbreaker″.