Hip-hop hitmaker Pharrell Williams wanted to quit his solo career after the release of his debut album In My Mind, because he was not a fan of his own work.

The N.E.R.D. star, one half of superproducing duo The Neptunes, branched out on his own in 2006 and the rap project reached number three in America's Billboard 200 chart, even earning him a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album.

But Williams claims he was disappointed with his efforts when he reflected on the quality of his lyrics.

He tells Gq magazine, "Talking about the money I was making and the by-products of living that lifestyle. What was good about that? What'd you get out of it? There was no purpose. I was so under the wrong impression at that time."

Williams admits he was trying too hard to emulate his rap pals Jay Z and Sean 'Diddy' Combs by bragging about his fame and riches on In My Mind, and the songs suffered as a result: "I wanted to be like Jay. I wanted to be like Puff. Those are their paths. I got my own path. But I didn't know what my path was. I knew that I was meant to do something different. I knew that I needed to inject purpose in my music. And I thought that was my path."

However, Williams believes his early solo experiences were just part of the learning curve to help him improve as an artist.

He adds, "I didn't realise that like, from '08 up until now was like, training. Like, keep putting purpose in everything you do. Don't worry about it; just put purpose in there."

The singer has since returned to the charts as a solo star - his track Happy, from the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack, is currently number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart as he prepares to attend Sunday's (02Mar14) Academy Awards, where the tune is shortlisted for Best Original Song.

His new album, G I R L, is set for release next week (begs03Mar14).