At 36-years-old, Timbaland brings a youthful energy to his music that speaks to the stamina of a 20 year-old sneaking in the club and a 45 year-old raised amidst the Electronic genesis of the ’80s. Coming off of one of the most dominant streaks of hits in Tim’s 15 year career, the Virginia rapper and super-producer aimed to capitalize off of that attention with Shock Value. Although the burgeoning sound is certainly garnering its share of talk, the most shocking thing about Timbaland in 2007 is his new attitude.
The man who began his career as DJ Timmy Tim claims that his modesty has come to an end. Though he refuses to confirm that his verse on current single “Give It To Me” is specifically intended for Scott Storch, Tim hides no superiority complex about his craft. Like Miles Davis or The Beatles, Timbaland insists that he’ll rearrange his entire sound the moment a peer comes anywhere close. Whether it was 1998, 2001 or present day, it’s proven that the music created out in these times for Tim can affect the status-quo within several genres.
Unless he or his associates are winning an award, Timbaland has never been a big talker. Still, the head of Mosely Music says a lot in a little. With the kind of attitude that’s been previously displayed by Jay-Z and 50 Cent with their respective break-through years, Timbaland aims for an immortalized legacy, while his album tells others to kill themselves.
AllHipHop.com: Your sound has constantly evolved, which people can easily hear on your various albums over the years. After the success of 2006, what makes Shock Value different in the scheme of things?
Timbaland: What youre going to get on this album is a lot of dimensions from me. Different genres of music that people think that I cant do or see me doing, Im actually doing. So thats how I look at this album as taking a look at my world around music thats what you’re going to get from this album.
AllHipHop.com: The music took a big leap over the last two years. What prompted this change on your part?
Timbaland: My sound is always changing, so I cant pinpoint myself. Once I think someones got it, Ill change it up and that happens all the time. I dont try to do that; it just comes natural to me. Sometimes I dont like my sound, its just nagging to me, sometimes Im just like “This is trash,” but thats just me being a hard critic.
AllHipHop.com: Much of Shock Value has heavy doses of ego, lots of confidence and more lyrical swag than we’ve previously seen from you. I know this new attitude started last year, but what prompted it?
Timbaland: I feel like Ive been modest too long. People just take me for granted, talk about me. I used to just sit there and take it. But you’ve got to realize that I am the best, and Im going to stand for it proudly. Whoever wants to get in my way and [think that] theyre better than me, then come on, Im all about competition. ‘Cause I feel like no one can beat me, and thats just me. This is the first time I have talked about how good I am.
AllHipHop.com: So is it Scott Storch you’re addressing on the line “I’m a real producer, you’re just a piano-man”? Or is that a general criticism of producers?
Timbaland: Producers. Theres a lot of producers out there that are just beat-makers, but Im a real producer.Theres a lot of people that think its aimed at them. Hey, if you think it’s towards you. [Or] hey, if you think youre a producer then yeah, its about you.
AllHipHop.com: So since modesty is out, what do you really see as your legacy in music?
Timbaland: Im going for the best that did it in my generation – well, one of the best. ‘Cause when people mention my name, [they’ll mention me alongside] Quincy Jones, Teddy Riley, all those great people that changed their genre of music for that generation. I just want to leave a legacy mark and still touch people. Thats how I want to be perceived if Im here. If Im not here or if Im not doing music, I want people to be like he was the greatest; he needs to come back and do it again.
AllHipHop.com: For years, music critics have been trying to analyze your ear and see where your sound comes from. In your own words, where does the music begin for you?
Timbaland: I just let my brain take me where it takes me. I dont really look deep into it. My rhythm is a gift from God. I dont sit there and think about it, it just comes. I just get a lot of different type of rhythms in my head a lot of Latin rhythm, and I just fool with it. And I just put it in there; I dont think twice about it. It just comes to me.
AllHipHop.com: Between the Justin Timberlake tour, working on your solo album and with other major artists, how do you physically do it all?
Timbaland: I guess [with the occasional] 20-minute nap, thats how I keep things going. I keep things going by taking a time out. I dont need a long time out, maybe like an hour, and then Ill get back up and start working again.
AllHipHop.com: If you had the chance, dead or alive, what artist would you like to work with?
Timbaland: Biggie. I was almost about to work with Biggie before he got killed. Thats who I would want to work with.