Timbaland: Ego Trippin’

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 you’re going to get on this album is a lot of dimensions from me. Different genres of music that people think that I can’t do or see me doing, I’m actually doing. So that’s how I look at this album as taking a look at my world around music that’s 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 can’t pinpoint myself. Once I think someone’s got it, I’ll change it up and that happens all the time. I don’t try to do that; it just comes natural to me. Sometimes I don’t like my sound, it’s just nagging to me, sometimes I’m just like “This is trash,” but that’s 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 I’ve 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 I’m going to stand for it proudly. Whoever wants to get in my way and [think that] they’re better than me, then come on, I’m all about competition. ‘Cause I feel like no one can beat me, and that’s 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. There’s a lot of producers out there that are just beat-makers, but I’m a real producer.There’s a lot of people that think it’s aimed at them. Hey, if you think it’s towards you. [Or] hey, if you think you’re a producer then yeah, it’s about you.

AllHipHop.com: So since modesty is out, what do you really see as your legacy in music?

Timbaland: I’m 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. That’s how I want to be perceived if I’m here. If I’m not here or if I’m 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 don’t really look deep into it. My rhythm is a gift from God. I don’t 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 don’t 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, that’s how I keep things going. I keep things going by taking a time out. I don’t need a long time out, maybe like an hour, and then I’ll 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. That’s who I would want to work with.

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