Timbaland (born Timothy Z. Mosley 10.3.1971)
Timbaland is a hugely popular record producer, also known for his song composition and vocal skills. He has been responsible for a huge number of hit songs and albums for a range of artists, primarily in the urban pop genre.
Timbaland: The Early Years
Raised in Norfolk, Virginia, Timbaland was initially known as a disc jockey, DJ Timmy Tim or DJ Tiny Tim. He started off on his production path by making beats on his Casio keyboard. Missy Elliott, the rapper, heard his work and instantly expressed an interest in working with him.
DeVante, a producer and member of Jodeci (a popular R&B act) invited Missy's R&B group, Sista, along with DJ Timmy Tim to New York, where his Swing Mob label was based. It was DeVante who nicknamed Mosley Timbaland, after the Timberland construction boots that were popular in the hip-hop scene at the time.
Along with DeVantes' new Swing Mob signings, collectively known as 'Da Bassment Crew', Timbaland worked on several projects, such as Jodeci's 1995 album, The Show, The After-Party, The Hotel. He later joined a production crew called S.B.I. (Surrounded By Idiots) that featured Pharrell Williams.
Timbaland continued to collaborate with Missy Elliott, Ginuwine and Playa on their solo projects. His first major production credit was as remixer of 702's 'Steelo', written by Missy Elliott.
In 19996, Ginuwine's debut album was released, produced by Timbaland. Ginuwine.the Bachelor was a commercial and critical success. The lead single from the album, 'Pony' became the first example of the trademark Timbaland sound. On many of the album tracks, Timbaland's heavily vocoded voice can be heard in the background, providing ad-libs.
Aaliyah contacted Missy Elliott and Timbaland whilst work was being done on Ginuwine's debut. The R&B artist wanted the pair to write and produce her second album, One in a Million. All three of them became superstars after the release of the album, which sold over 11 million copies around the world.
By the end of the 1990s, Timbaland and Missy Elliott had become one of the most highly regarded production and writing teams in the world. Their skills can be found in the work of SWV, Destiny's Child, Jay-Z and Nas, to name but a few.
Timbaland: Commercial success
Between the years 2000-2, Timbaland worked on songs by Ludacris, Beck and Limp Bizkit's remix album. He also carried out further work on Aaliyah's self-titled third album. Aaliyah's death in a plane crash in August 2001 had a hugely detrimental impact on Timbaland, who stated in interviews that he lost his creativity when he lost Aaliyah.
Tweet's debut album, Southern Hummingbird featured three tracks produced by Timbaland and Missy Elliott's fourth and fifth albums were also largely produced by him. Lil' Kim also benefited from his production touch, as did former N*SYNC singer, Justin Timberlake. Timberlake's 'Cry Me A River' was a massive worldwide hit and the song brought new levels of achievement and success to both producer and performer.
In 2004, Timbaland produced tracks by LL Col J, Xibit, Jay-Z and Brandy. His mainstream credentials expanded when he was chosen to work with Jennifer Lopez on her track 'He'll Be Back'.
Mosley Music Group was the label started by Timbaland, releasing music by the likes of Nelly Furtado and rapper D.O.E.
In 2006, Furtado and Timberlake were jointly responsible for helping to provide Timbaland with seven songs that achieved massive airplay. The producer also appeared in most of the songs' promotional videos.
The next year, Timbaland was heavily involved in a highly publicized new album by Bjork, as well as new work by Ashlee Simpson, Duran Duran, Mary J. Blige and M.I.A.