Not so much... well, sort of... not really, though.
What would happen if N.E.R.D. was a little dorkier and a lot whiter? Well, then it would probably be Chester French, two cornball-ass New Englanders who are signed to Pharrell's Star Trak label. Jacque Jams Vol. 1: Endurance is their formal introduction, and uhhhhhh....
As producers, they craft some interesting tracks, definitely off the beaten path in terms of hip-hop: the syncopated cowbells and percussion in "No Parents Allowed" is perfect for Kardinal Offishall and N.O.R.E. to flow over, the crunchy synths of "I'm So Tall" provide a slightly-menacing backdrop for Bun B, Talib Kweli and Mickey Factz, and Wale continues to impress me with his verse on the uptempo "I'm Sorry."
But their original songs just kind of sound like Pharrell's pop-heavier beats, with absolutely no kind of street edge to them.
Even the hip-hop beats hew a to pretty simple template: angular synth riffs, a little guitar work and uptempo drums, along with the duo's mid-range tenor voices. It appears as though Chester French can't decide if they want to be Beck or The Neptunes, and end up creating an ugly little mutant baby that sounds like both, but not in a very good or interesting way.
[Note: after receiving a posted comment by one of the members of Chester French (to be frank, I'm pretty surprised that ANYONE reads this blog, let alone one of the artists I've mentioned), I kind of feel like a judgmental asshole now... particularly since, as D.A. Wallach mentioned, I am a musician (not professionally, but...) and I know the feeling of having someone listen to your work and go "Ehhhh." In my zeal to create a funny blog posting, I was probably a little more harsh than I should have been. I suppose perhaps I was expecting something different, especially when I looked at the guest MC list on Jacques Jams. So anyway, my apologies to Chester French, and please, feel free to savagely rip the beats that I've put together]