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Diggin In The Crates: Timbaland






By @TrueGodImmortal





Virginia is responsible for some of the best producers out there and of all time. Teddy Riley. Pharrell. And of course, Timbaland. For over 2 decades, Timbaland has remained at the forefront of hip hop, R&B and pop music with inventive sounds, tribal and aggressive drums, as well as consistency. He was mentored by Jodeci legendary producer Devante Swing and would get his start in the business by producing with Devante on various projects. His early work teaming up with Devante on the Jodeci albums, as well as the album of the ill fated group Sista showcased the distinct sound growth of Timbaland. However, it would be his work with his own crew of artists that truly got him notoriety. 1996 was the year that it truly began. Let's begin with talking the albums in the 90's that he played a huge part in.

*Aaliyah- One In A Million 


-Aaliyah and Timbaland were an epic combo. Her voice, which wasn't too strong, fit perfectly over his melodic yet hip hop tinged production and with it, they seemingly ushered in a new sound. The production on the title track, which is bouncy and infectious, all the way to the sounds of "4 Page Letter", which is laid back, and somber in some ways. Not to mention, the sinister sound of "If Your Girl Only Knew", this album truly features Tim at his best and is one of his best projects that he's taken part in period.

*Ginuwine- The Bachelor 


-The moment that Ginuwine arrived on the scene, it was obvious that he wasn't the greatest singer or the most vocally gifted. Regardless, his voice also fit perfectly over Timbo's production. From the slow, brooding yet upbeat sounds of "Pony" to the knock of "Tell Me Do You Wanna", the growing signature sound of Tim was in full force here.

*Missy Elliott- Supa Dupa Fly


-I've always been under the impression that this is truly Timbaland's best work. Hands down period. I'm sure in later articles we'll get into Missy and her music, so I'll focus strictly on the production. Tim would provide Missy with spacey, inventive sounds, thumping drums, and various melodies that allowed her to flex her immense creativity. On songs like the huge single "The Rain", "Sock It To Me", "Pass the Blunt", and some others, the production was without a doubt superb. Timbaland had a lane within R&B and alternative hip hop it seemed and that role was growing.

*Timbaland & Magoo- Welcome to Our World 


-As Timbaland rolled on as a producer, his voice was increasingly heard more and more on the songs, it was obvious that he would eventually try to rap more frequently and that he did alongside partner Magoo here, over a glorious soundbed provided by Tim that ranged from party tracks to head nodders. "Up Jumps The Boogie" and "Luv 2 Luv U" would be the tracks that truly stick out in many ways on this album. Slightly underrated as far as production goes.

*Playa- Cheers 2 U


-The work that Tim had done with Static Major was no doubt legendary and this goes unnoticed. Unlike the other albums mentioned, he didn't produce the whole album here, just a couple of tracks, but his work here was quite enjoyable as Static and Tim brought out the best in each other. Check the title track and "All The Way" for the chemistry.

*Timbaland- Tim's Bio: Life From Da Bassment


-Now, I'll admit, at this point, Tim was working harder than anyone, to the point of over saturation and overkill damn near, but he had gems on this as well, including "Lobster and Shrimp" with Hov. As the 90's were coming to an end, the Timbaland and company run was coming to an end. This album to me signals the beginning of the end to that run, however there is some solid production here.

*Missy Elliott- Da Real World


-The production on this album is top notch. From the single and orchestra like strings of "All N My Grill", to the booming bass and drums of "Hot Boyz", and the knock of "Stickin Chickens", Missy and Tim made much more beautiful music than the first time out in many ways, though the first one can't be duplicated really. The production here is slightly more challenging, but overall the songs and the album itself isn't necessarily better.

*Ginuwine- 100% Ginuwine 


-Timbaland closed out the 90's with a classic alongside the DC singer. This album is one of the greatest R&B albums ever from the decade. Tim was in a zone production wise, and outside of his rambling speech on the end of "Same Ol' G", he completed an amazing album as the producer. The drop on the drums and the smooth melody of "None Of Your Friends Business", or the seductive sound of "So Anxious" and all the amazing sounds Tim gave Ginuwine on this classic. It's one of my favorite albums that Timbaland produced.

As the 90's came to a close, Tim would continue to provide production for Aaliyah and Missy, but his work with Ginuwine seemed to halt after their classic 100% Ginuwine. Tim would venture more into the hip hop side of things and did work with Jay-Z and Nas, two of the all time greats. Over the last 2 decades, Tim would produce noteworthy hip hop joints over the last 2 decades, working with hip hop artists and legends, along with some newer hip hop artists. Let's take a look at some of the hip hop contributions that Tim brought for.

*Nas featuring Aaliyah- You Won't See Me Tonight 


-While this is not his best production, Tim gave Nas a different flavor than we were used to hearing him with and created a fun track. Nas and Tim's collaborations were always fun, if nothing else.

*Nas featuring Ginuwine- You Owe Me


-Case in point. This song is seen as the fall of Nas. However, I always thought the song was fun and I still enjoy it, though I will admit the lyrics are interesting in a bad way. The beat however is pretty solid.

*Jay-Z featuring Amil and Jaz-O- Nigga What, Nigga Who 


-Tim always had beats that would inspire a double time faster flow, and both Jigga and Jaz utilize that on this classic track from Hov's third album.

*Jay-Z featuring UGK- Big Pimpin 


-A classic single from Hov, as the sample carries us along with the knock of the drums and bass. Tim creates an infectious soundbed for the three MCs to talk their shit over.

*Jay-Z featuring Juvenile- Snoopy Track 
-The sinister production carries this song as well, combined with Juvenile on the hook killing it. I would dare say the best example of Jay and Tim working together would be on Vol. 3, one of Jay-Z's more "forgotten" albums.

*Jay-Z featuring Memphis Bleek, Amil- Hey Papi


-Off The Nutty Professor 2 soundtrack, this beat is flawless. From the drums to the melody to the structure and the breakdowns. This is one of Tim's most slept on beats. Period.

*The LOX- Ryde or Die Bitch 
-The smooth, laid back production here allows Eve to assist the Yonkers trio on this dope track.

*Memphis Bleek featuring Jay-Z, Missy Elliott, and Twista- Is That Your Chick 


-Another fast flow inducing track, Tim hits them with the signature sound as Bleek, Jay and Twista kill it with their verses.

*Snoop Dogg featuring MC Ren, Nate Dogg, Kurupt, Ice Cube, and The Lady Of Rage- Set It Off
-In some ways, this could be a party starter. This is one of my favorite Timbaland beats and the track is so damn dope. Tim outdid himself with this one.

*Jay-Z- Hola Hovito


-Off the classic Jay album The Blueprint, this track honestly was not my favorite, but Tim gave him a Spanish tinged beat in some ways and the production here is enjoyable.

*Ludacris- Rollout(My Business)


-The first single from Luda's second album Word of Mouf, this featured a slower more infectious hook and production made that happen.

*Petey Pablo- Raise Up


-Tim tried to work with more artists and Petey was one that he identified with. This was a huge hit however.

*Bubba Sparxxx- Ugly and the Deliverance Album 
-One project that pushed Tim was the second Bubba album Deliverance which is an underrated album anyways. Tim gave Bubba some amazing rock tinged southern soul production on that album and provided him with the signature sound on Bubba's debut single "Ugly".

*Jay-Z featuring Kanye West- The Bounce
-Another classic Tim and Jay collaboration, this was a solid song with a very heavy beat. The drums are flawless here.

*Lil Kim featuring Mr. Cheeks- The Jump Off
-This sounded like a Timbo leftover for someone else and he just gave it to Kim. Not a big fan of this track, but it was a huge hit.

*Jay-Z- Dirt Off Your Shoulder 
-One of the singles off the Black Album, Tim mixed a bevy of sounds together, added some intense drums and we get another classic from the two.

*Missy Elliott- Work It and Gossip Folks featuring Ludacris
-Missy and Tim still made dope music well into the 2000s and this was just two more examples of their chemistry with each other.

*LL Cool J- Headsprung & Feel The Beat


-One thing I imagine Timbaland always wanted to do was work with LL. He contributed a large amount of beats to his The Definition album and these are two of the stronger ones.

*Lloyd Banks- I'm So Fly 
-One of the singles off the Hunger For More, this was a smooth production with an infectious feel and groove.

*Ludacris- The Potion 
-This track was all over the place in some ways. Tim provided Luda with an anthem and a beat that rattled the trunk but melodically, it was all over the place.

*The Game- Put You On the Game 


-Another signature Tim hip hop track, Game makes an anthem here with the prime hit maker to cap off a dope debut album and a run of singles.

*50 Cent featuring Justin Timberlake- Ayo Technology


-This electric track is signature Tim, but with a bit more of a futuristic feel to it. It is a fun song and the production works, despite 50 bringing the vibe down a bit with his verses. Sorry, but it's true.

*Fabolous featuring Ne-Yo- Make Me Better
-This track reportedly bounced around a bit from rapper to rapper before Fab and Ne-Yo made it a hit.

*Jay-Z- Magna Carta Holy Grail Album


-Timbaland produced most of the content here and the production here is pretty solid, even if the songs themselves fall flat.

The focus of Timbaland as a producer however always falls to his R&B work and his pop star work. He's managed to push the limits of being a R&B/hip hop producer through his work with Madonna, Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado. Some of his best production work in recent years has come with Justin, and while Timbaland isn't as focused on hip hop as he used to be, his roots are still there. Let's take a look at some of his R&B and pop contributions.

*Aaliyah- Are You That Somebody & Try Again 



-Neither of these songs were actually singles from albums, but for soundtracks. Both were mega hits and some of their best work together.

*Missy Elliott featuring Ludacris and Jay-Z- One Minute Man 
-While Missy isn't considered R&B, she sings on this track basically and the beat itself is a catchy drum heavy track.

*Aaliyah- We Need A Resolution, More Than A Woman & I Care 4 U 


-Three extremely different songs. One duo. Tim and Aaliyah created a possible party track in We Need A Resolution, an anthem in More Than A Woman, and a slow ballad in "I Care 4 U".

*Tweet- Oops (Oh My) & Call Me
-The rolling drums of Oops is undeniable. The melody and the the bounce of Call Me is undeniable. Both of these are amazing tracks, the production is almost secondary to the lyrics and Tweet's voice.

*Justin Timberlake- Cry Me A River 


-This was the beginning of a partnership that proved to be beneficial for Tim heavily. This was a great song, with the signature Tim sound in place, and a hell of a melody.

*Kelis- Running Mate
-Unreleased track from the Tasty album production, this beat is something special. It is a shame it never got released on an album.

*Brandy- Afrodisiac 
-Tim got with Brandy and created some really great music on this album. Brandy and her vocals over Tim production sounded great. Revisit this album if you haven't heard it in a while.

*Jamie Foxx- Can I Take You Home
-The smooth seductive sounds and the off kilter drums here make for a late night anthem, something Tim hadn't dabbled in often during recent years, but it works here flawlessly.

*Justin Timberlake- FutureSex/LoveSounds 


-This was the album that cemented the legendary pairing of Tim and Justin. Some of these songs here are all time classics. The playful vibe of "SexyBack" and the glorious smooth, laid back, lovers groove of Justin's best song "Until the End of Time" are impossible to deny.

*Nelly Furtado- Loose


-The work with Nelly on her album gave her two big hits in "Maneater" and "Promiscuous", helping her maintain success. The songs were fun, production was upbeat and Tim created yet another avenue right into the pop lane.

*Omarion- Ice Box


-The beat here is somber, yet upbeat in its own right. The song was a huge hit and Tim provided his usual background vocals or adlibs to make this even stronger. Great song.

*Bobby Valentino- Anonymous 


-One of my favorite Timbaland productions, mostly for what it became rather than just the beat. This song is extremely dope, and the beat drives home the feel of it.

*Duran Duran- Skin Divers
-Timbaland worked with Danja on a lot of production in the mid 2000s. This track was one of them for the pop-rock band.

*OneRepublic- Apologize


-Timbaland got into the real pop game himself with this track, the infectious joint by the rock band. Smooth track and Tim adding his flavor to it cranked it up a notch.

*Rihanna- Rehab


-Listed as a co-producer, this was a solid production and a good song in general. This marked the first time Rihanna and Timbaland worked together, as he also co-produced other tracks on her Good Girl Gone Bad album.

*Timbaland featuring Drake- Say Something 


-The extremely melodic track off another Timbaland album(he has way too many) features a harmonizing hook from Drake and verses from both Drake and Tim. Very dope production here.

*Beyonce's Self Titled Album


-Timbaland contributed a lot of production and co-produced a number of tracks on this album including "Yonce" and "Rocket".

*Justin Timberlake- The 20/20 Experience


-This album was amazing to me when it first dropped. The sounds, the songs, the vocals, the feel of the album. It felt timeless. The production on songs like "Mirrors", "Spaceship Coupe", and "That Girl" is some of the best work Tim has done period. Amazing levels of talent showcased here. This album could possibly be Tim's greatest achievement.

*Michael Jackson- Xscape 


-A posthumous album from Michael produced mostly by Timbaland? This one is interesting and I will admit Tim did a pretty good job with this one in particular. He captured the right feel and the right elements needed for this to sound like a current present day MJ album.

*Bryson Tiller- Sorry Not Sorry
-Though I'm not a fan of Bryson, I do think the production Tim assisted with here was pretty good and fits the mood of Tiller's music.

With so many classics under his belt, Timbaland is hands down one of the best producers of all time. His ability to weave through genres and showcase his diversity is underrated, and when it's all said and done, he might be hailed as the greatest producer ever. There's certainly an argument there.

Any other productions from Timbaland that you love, but don't see here? Include them in the comments below.

-True 

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