Timbaland

  • Hip-Hop/R&B singer, songwriter, musician and producer born Timothy Mosley in Norfolk Virginia in 1972.
  • As a teenager, Mosley worked as a DJ for local rap artists around Virginia Beach. Rapper Missy Elliott heard his work and she began to collaborate with him in 1991. Mosley was the producer for Elliott’s R&B group, cutting demo tapes for them. When Elliott’s group was signed to a record label, she brought Mosley with her to New York. The head of the record label dubbed him Timbaland, and he began to use the name as his moniker.
  • By 1993, Timbaland was contributing to music for numerous R&B artists including Elliott and Jodeci. By the mid-90s, he had developed a distinctive sound, merging electronic instrumentation and the fast pace of hip-hop with more traditional R&B. Soon, more artists were asking him to produce their work. In 1996, he had his breakthrough as a producer with hit albums by Aaliyah and Ginuwine.
  • While steadily building credibility as a producer, he began his career as an artist in 1997 with the release of an album together with Hip-Hop artist Magoo. Their album Welcome To Our World was certified platinum, with the single Up Jumps da Boogie reaching #12 on the Hot 100 chart and #4 on the R&B chart. Timbaland & Magoo would release 2 more albums in the early 00s.
  • In 1998, Timbaland’s first album credited solely to Timbaland was released – Tim’s Bio: Life from da Basement. The recording was a compilation of songs produced by Timbaland, with Timbaland handling most (but not all) of the vocals. It features contributions by many other artists that were early in their careers and would eventually become some of the biggest names in R&B/Hip-Hop, including Nas, Missy Elliott, Jay-Z and Ludacris.
  • Timbaland released 2 more albums as a solo artist – Shock Value in 2007 and Shock Value II in 2009. Three singles from Shock Value were huge hits – Give It To Me (featuring Nelly Fertado and Justin Timberlake) topped the Hot 100, The Way I Are (featuring Keri Hilson) reached #3 on the Hot 100, and his remix of OneRepublic’s song Apologize peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 and at #1 in 16 other countries. Hits from Shock Value II included Say Something (featuring Drake), which topped the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and Carry Out (featuring Justin Timberlake), which peaked at #11 on the Hot 100 chart.
  • His successful albums in the late 00s were as much pop albums as Hip-Hop. Timbaland’s work as a producer for pop music stars during the 00s led to this evolution toward pop music on his own albums. But the influence of his Hip-Hop background remained prevalent. It was during this time that much of the pop music world embraced elements of Hip-Hop and electronic instrumentation as part of its sound – largely because Timbaland was producing the music for so many of the big names in pop music at the time.
  • His production credits during the 90s, 00s and 10s were unmatched by other music producers. During this period, over 150 singles produced by Timbaland and performed by other artists charted, with over 35 of them topping one of the Billboard charts. He produced music for a broad range of artists across many genres. Artists he has worked with on production include Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Brandy, Alicia Keys, Nelly Furtado, Björk, Kanye West, Madonna, Rihanna, Chris Cornell, Beyoncé, Coldplay, Sam Smith, Jennifer Lopez, The Black Eyed Peas, Duran Duran, Jonas Brothers, Mariah Carey, Drake, Demi Lovato, Cher, Brad Paisley and dozens more.
  • Timbaland has won 4 Grammy Awards – three were Justin Timberlake songs which Timbaland co-wrote and co-produced,  and the other was Beyoncé’s song Drunk In Love, which he co-wrote and co-produced. He has received 21 Grammy nominations. If an artist wanted a hit during the 00s and 10s, they probably wanted Timbaland to be part of the project. In my opinion, he largely defined the sound of pop music in the 00s. Watch his music videos – he doesn’t have the Hip-Hop star look, though he tries – looks more like a businessman to me! Here’s a catchy one – The Way I Are, featuring Keri Hilson.

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