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Timbaland Interview with Scratch Magazine 🗞 (2007)


It's not that Timbaland
Thinks hip-hop is dead, it just bores the shit out of him. See, the curse (or the gift, depending on who you ask) of rap music is that the best production generally has a certain sparse simplicity, giving Mc's room to be breathe. But when a producer like Timothy Mosley comes along with a bottomless pit of ambition and imagination hip-hop as a genre hasn't always been ready. Don't expect him to wait around.


Once again, you seem to have changed the sound of Pop music with the big 80s synth sound...
Yeah, but I'm getting tired of it because everybody's doing it, I was telling nate. Like "yo man everybody's biting our sound". He was like "I know". "Now it's the true test. I've changed up my sound several times in my life, so now what we gon do?"
I already know how I'm gonna change up. I like to see what (Nate) comes up with Cause now, he got a great head on his shoulders toss me an idea. Let me infuse that idea with what I got. Put that together, and here we are baby--we back on top again.
Even T-Pain got hip to what we're doing and now he doing it, especially on that new Chris Brown single "kiss kiss". That's when you know it's time to switch it up. Then I'm getting other people whose songs are not out yet. I heard some just blaze records too. People are really biting our style, so now I gotta go back into Timbaland mode and keep em guessing again.


How would you compare your mentorship with Danja to the relationship you had with DeVante Swing back in the mob days?
Nate, now he's shinning and doing some stuff on his own. But for me it took me some years to really learn how to do it, I taught him he didn't have a clue. But I believed in his talent. He didn't know nothing about music, about the studio, or about how to make hit records. But I took him under my wing and it only took two, three years. With DeVante swing I just watched him.. He didn't really put me under his wing. I was doing my thing. He was doing his thing.

Do you feel like having Danja around has helped your career?
Yeah, he showed me some things maybe he gave me my snap back. He kinda kept me on my toes. He's a little better than me at certain things. I don't play like he plays. He got potential to be a great producer.

Do you think he's ready to step out on his own?
I wanna see him out there. I'm trying to deal with my company, so maybe there are certain things that I don't wanna do that he should do on his own. He should venture out and do some new things. Like he did the Britney stuff, which is great. Back when we all tried to work with her, me, Justin and all of us - - she had her little problems at the time, and she kinda said that she wasn't ready or whatever. And Justin was my friend, my loyalty, my alliance I had to ask him permission to work with her. She's not the enemy, but that's someone he was Close to, so I wanted to get his blessing. So we were both going to work on it together but if he ain't doing it. Then I ain't doing it. That left Danja in the clear to do it, and God bless him on the project -- I think it'll be good for his career, it's not gonna hurt him.

So you're Supportive of him doing outside work to get his chops up?
I think he should, but I don't think he should do a whole bunch. My thing is we created a sound together and you can't give it to everybody. And I don't wanna all eyes to be on Nate, cause I don't want people to critique him,. I'm starting to hear critiques now, and I don't like that. That means I gotta pull my guns out and go to war. I don't like negative comments because people want to divide and conquer. They might say something bad about me or they might say something bad about him, but either way it's just not what we need right now, because we've got a winning team. I heard negative comments all my life in this music game. I don't want him to experience that right away, I want him to experience that with me, not by himself. I wanna be his crutches for a minute.



Also, Justin produced a song on the new Talib Kweli album. You running a school down there?
Yeah, Justin a great producer. I'm teaching him stuff. I'm a great teacher when it comes to producing. I got a whole team. The next person I'm doing is two guys named Royal Court and Hannon. Hannon is like my next protégé. Really he's been a monster since day one, but he was going through some issues at the time. I couldn't focus on him so I went straight to nate and groomed him. I'm like that guy in the wheelchair ♿ in X-Men. I find all the new hot producers. I can only do it by myself for so long. So I'm all about sharing the wealth and building a compound instead of me being egotistical Timbaland. I will sign up everybody -- that way I can corner the whole market.

50 Cent's a big Rapper who dosen't really work with big producers, why do you think he made an exception?
I think he respects my ear and what I can bring to the table. 50's great player, like a basketball player, but with a great coach, it makes you even better, but I really respected him when he said he didn't need the big name producers to make him hot.

have you been working with Jay-Z on his next album?
Yeah, he's calling. Imma do it, but I tell Jay like I tell everybody, '' if you're not trying to go to the planet Mars, then I can't work with you". Cause I'm on some other stuff. I'm in a worldwide league. And Jay is too advanced for hip-hop, the way it is today. He knows that anything that he does has to be bigger than life. Hip-hop people. Might criticize him like "Nah, that's wack" or like "he sold out, doing pop" but his Album was a big pop record. The biggest record, worldwide. That's what we need right now.

it was really frustrating to a lot of people that you weren't on Kingdom Come, what happened?
Oh we did a song, but he used it for "Make me Better" the fabulous record. That's was Jay's record. He rapped to it and everything. It was dope. He also did a song on my album, but he was to critical and wanted to change it up. I still have it though -- it's dope.

Did Jay give you his reason for not using "Make Me Better" on his Album?
I think Jay.. He's thinking too much.

Enough said. When you made your comment about Scott Storch being "Just a piano man, were you trying to spark beef with him?
I never had a beef with Scott Storch, he knows what was going on. I hang out with the dude.

So you still hang out with him?
Yeah, Scott is my man, but people flip out, at the time I felt like, damn, you just got mad. He took it too far and he admits it. I wasn't mad at Scott, I was mad at that clown dude he had on the track, Now I was like, "you don't know me, don't put my name in your mouth, like... Scott can do it. I can handle Scott. But you? You don't know me. Don't get your feelings hurt".


What was the conversation you had with Scott like after?
We never brought it up. I'm more concerned about how he's doing. Ain't childish like that. I'm grown man Things. A grown man would go up to Scott like, "we both 30-something men. Come on now."

Are you working on the Missy Album?
Yeah, I been working on it. Danja I think he did a couple tracks so far. I think She got a joint with T-Pain and some other people. She asked me to oversee it as executive producer but I really can not oversee the whole project. I just can't do the same thing because it's like.. The last time, as you can see, most of it didn't work out because I only got a few records. I just can't put all my energy into it. I have my own stress, I got a new ship to build I can't set up Atlantic Records and make them hot. I gotta make Mosley music and Jimmy Iovine hot, that's my partner, And also, Missy's nominated for an honor on VH1. That Scares me, because to me, when they give you an honor like that, they only trying to say that you over. I don't like that. I don't know if it's good or bad.

business aside, do you think you would still mesh with her in the Studio 🎹?
I don't know if we can do the same thing like before. Because musically, I'm somewhere else. I'm trying to take her there, and.. We seeing eye to eye on certain things we not, it's taking longer. And the longer it takes, the more I gotta work on Mosley music. It's our statements, we made a great mark in the music business. And sometimes you can't keep doing the same thing.

where is she at musically?
You know what? I don't know. I think she's trying to make another great album, but I don't know. She's too advanced for hip-hop, look at hip-hop is terrible. If you not making terrible music. It ain't gon work?.

Not a fan of the so-called ringtone rap?
It's killing, the ringtone rap is not fading away. "A Bay Bay" none of its fading away. If you ask me, it's getting stronger.. Nowadays, I think the way hip-hop is going. Rappers don't know nothing. They just put an 808 behind it and then they got a Song.

it's not going anywhere innovative?
Oh, the new hip-hop is pop. Justin, Nelly, Fergie, Will iam. It got harder beats!. Any of these pop acts that's trying new things -- that's hip-hop. Cause that's what hip-hop used to be -- new material, I went to Harvard, took the rich kid and brought him to the hood, got him jammin'. Those are real, hard Hip hop beats. It's no different just with melody.


What gear are you using in the Studio Now?
I'm not gonna tell everybody TIMBO's secrets! The stuff I use, you can't even find in the country. You got to go to Iraq. I go around the world like a scientist to find sounds. I go into tsunamis, I go into tidal waves, I put my life on the line, get bit by their mosquitoes, to search for this stuff.

So what's the next Sound?
The next sound is... I think African. That's where I wanna go. More tribal. I try to think worldwide. I just came from St. Tropez, Monaco and Cannes on vacation. And I'm big, I'm like a God over there. That's how I know I got to stay worldwide.




Danjahandz

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