With the recent passing of the producer for The Beatles, George Martin, there was a wave of Internet and radio stories describing the sound that Martin had crafted for The Beatles. As a consumer of music with an untrained ear it is irrelevant to wonder who creates what sound for what artist. That is, unless, you begin to hear a beat you like and then you might follow that beat and look for hints of it other places. Sort of like I did in the summer of 2001 when I fell in love with Missy Elliott’s album So Addicted. That was followed by Madonna’s album Hard Candy with the song ‘4 Minutes to Save the World’ and of course although not one of my favorites but certainly background music for a certain place in time is Jay Z’s ‘Big Pimpin’ (Timbaland notes in the book that Jay Z later went on to state that he regretted the lyrics to the song but the beat still stands). I sought out Timbaland because I love a beat you can dance to, sing a long too, and that generally gives some of that vibrational life energy back
With the recent success of the television show ‘Empire’, in which Timbaland produces the music, it makes sense that he would want to catapult himself further with an autobiography. In it he lays out the early sounds that inspired him, his father listening to Rick James and later his own love for Prince and Queen. His mother supported his love of music even when it meant that it took priority over school work. Timbaland, also known as Timothy Mosley, was raised in the Virginia Beach, Virginia area and went to school with and came up with Pharrell. He started working with Missy Elliott early when they both still lived in Virginia Beach. Together the two of them set their eyes on a goal and moved to New Jersey to make it happen. They both got stuck in a producing nightmare for nineties R&B group Jodeci but once out of that they took off. Timbaland had a break out hit with Ginuwine’s 1996 song ‘Pony’ and then Missy’s first real album ‘Supa Dupa Fly’. Throughout the book it’s interesting how he layers sounds, how he finds the inspiration, and how he mentors artists.
So go grab your old school boom box and open the windows up and clean out your house with some great jams. Timbaland’s story is a look behind what makes his music so catchy, a glimpse into the creation of a DJ’s mind. Time for me to dig that ‘So Addicted’ album out and do the same.