Fly or Die

Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
Fly or Die Music Poster Image
A little bit wonderful, a little bit of a mess.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

They are too self-referential for this to even be relevant.


Nothing much.


Some explicit lyrics, more innuendo.


Lots of profanity, but used in context.


Nothing much.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A few references.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is an example of artists taking musical risks, and also using strong language in lyrical context.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 1, 10, 14, and 17-year-old Written bySystemOfANintendo October 23, 2010

Pretty good.

N.E.R.D. was opening for a Gorillaz concert, and they were really good. I got this album, and I liked it. Teens and up.
Kid, 10 years old November 3, 2011

get this CD!

i like it the lead singer is pharrell.
Teen, 13 years old Written byberksierra April 9, 2008

What's the story?

As the Neptunes, pop music producers Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo have created glossy platinum hits for superstar artists as diverse as Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, and Britney Spears. But on their own time, as N.E.R.D., they do whatever they want. There's strong language, but it's used contextually and doesn't hit you over the head in the take-no-prisoners way we've become way too accustomed to hearing. Some sexual innuendo (and a few explicit lyrics) also feels less aggressive than usual. The \"clean\" version is (predictably enough) hard to find in stores.

Is it any good?

Musically, FLY OR DIE is a little bit wonderful and a little bit of a big old mess. So many classic rock, funk, and soul references all mixed up together are fun and interesting, but also confusing. It seems as though these guys threw in everything they could think of simply for the purpose of being different, and just because they could. They seem to be referencing Jimmi Hendrix, the Beatles, later Beach Boys, honky-tonk, jazz, funk, Santana, and psychedelic pop just for starters. Some listeners will love the mish-mosh; others will wish for more cohesiveness and focus -- it's almost as though these guys were crossing off a musical "to-do list," trying to cover all the bases and show off their varied musical influences at the expense of ending up with an album that makes cohesive sense.

Ironically, Fly or Die would have benefited from exactly the kind of attention they are so good at giving to others -- the strong guiding hand of a good producer.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the use of strong language here in a lyrical context. Does that make it more acceptable for a younger audience or not?

Music details

  • Artist: N.E.R.D.
  • Release date: March 23, 2004
  • Label: Virgin Records
  • Genre: Hip-hop
  • Parental advisory: Yes
  • Edited version available: Yes
  • Last updated: July 15, 2015

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