Thursday, January 28, 2010

Behind the Boards Pt. 4: Timbaland

Along with Dr. Dre and The Neptunes, no one has changed the landscape of music more throughout the years than Timbo the King. His style has consistently evolved, each one completely different than the last. Although I'm not a fan of his most recent work (Blueprint 3 and Shock Value 2), there is still no other producer I would want to help create a bonafide hit.

1) Aaliyah- Are You That Somebody

"Are You That Somebody" was the lead single off of the Dr. Dolittle Soundtrack back in '98. The one thing I remember most was that whenever I turned on the radio, this song was getting spins (and for good reason). It's widely regarded as one of the greatest pop music songs of the '90s, and is probably one of my top 3 favorite Timbaland beats.

2) Nelly Furtado- Promiscuous

The track that put Timbaland back on the map... "Promiscuous" was a HUGE song when it dropped, and reached #1 on the Billboard charts pretty fast. I believe this was the first time we heard a collaboration between Timbaland and his now famous understudy Danja.

3) Missy Elliott- Work It

In my opinion, I'd say "Work It" is the biggest song of Missy's career, and that's saying something considering she has a number of hits under her belt. Back when this dropped in '02, MTV bumped this song like it was going out of style. Regardless, it's a hot song, and Timbaland once again laced the beat.

4) Jay-Z- Big Pimpin'

It's hard to say where "Big Pimpin'" ranks in my all-time favorite Jay-Z singles, but it's more than likely in the top 5, possibly top 3. Everything about it is epic... the Hype Williams directed video, the multi-million dollar yacht, big Dame Dash pouring bottles of Crystal out on the video girls (haha), it's just a dope song/video. The beat, which is a sample of an Indian song called Khusara Khusara, is fire. Everyone's heard "Big Pimpin," and if you haven't, you must've been living under a rock the last 11 years.

5) Justin Timberlake- Cry Me a River

When this song first came out, I remember thinking 'wow Justin Timberlake is a little bitch,' but after the millionth time I heard "Cry Me a River" on the radio, I gotta admit I started to like it. The beat is credited to Timbaland, but it's pretty well known that it's also co-produced by Scott Storch (who I will do a "behind the boards" post for in the near future). Looking back on it, the song is undeniably hot.

6) Bubba Sparxxx- Ugly

The funny thing about Bubba Sparxxx is that the dude is straight country. Only a producer like Timbaland (or Dr. Dre, case in point with Eminem) could take a white boy from the rural south, and create a dope song. "Ugly" is a raucous beat... the kind that we've come to expect from Timbaland, and Bubba holds his own for the most part.

7) Jay-Z- Dirt Off Your Shoulder

I still say "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" is one of the hottest beats/Jay-Z songs of all time. I hate to keep making references to Blueprint 3, but I really was expecting songs of this calibur... not like the lackluster "Off That," or the two other Timbo-produced songs. Anyways, "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" once again solidifies Timbaland's reputation as one of the best producers of all time.

8) Petey Pablo- Raise Up

THIS ONE'S FOR NORTH CAROLINAAAA!!!! Petey Pablo was pretty wack, but it's hard to deny the appeal of "Raise Up." The beat is wild, and the hook is just out of hand. It's one of those songs where you just have to "Raise Up" when you hear it.

9) LL Cool J- Headsprung

Say what you want about "Headsprung," but if you just listen to the beat, you cannot deny that it is one of the hottest beats Timbaland has to offer. Personally, I like "Headsprung" as a complete song, but I know there are haters out there that aren't really feelin' it. Regardless, I think we can all agree that the beat is fire.

10) Missy Elliott- The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)

This is a landmark song for a number of reasons. First of all, it's the first Hype Williams-directed video to become famous for 'the fish eye' effect. Second of all, this is the song that really put Missy on the map. I remember seeing this video on MTV, thinking it was the most bizarre thing I'd ever witnessed up until that point in my life. Third of all, "The Rain" is what established Timbo and Missy as a hit-making duo.

Once again, Timbaland's catalogue is way too extensive to only choose 10 songs, so I highly advise you to check out the honorable mentions, as well...

Honorable Mentions: Missy Elliott- Gossip Folks, Ginuwine- Pony, The Game- Put You on the Game, Lil Kim- The Jumpoff, Ludacris- Rollout, Memphis Bleek- Is That Your Chick, Justin Timberlake- (the entire FutureSex/LoveSounds album)


  1. You may have listed his biggest hits but to me his best beat is still the one he did with Pastor Troy. "Are we Cuttin" It's definitely in my top 10 beats of all time. Never heard anything like it.

  2. I know a lot of people like that beat, but I'm not the biggest fan of it. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely hot (as was pretty much every timbo beat from back in the day), but personally I'd take any of the ones I've already mentioned over "Are We Cuttin'." At the end of the day, it's a matter of opinion.