Timbaland is like an athlete who took his franchise team from lottery-pick status to a dynasty. After helping everyone from Nas to Nelly Furtado stay on people’s lips when they make requests to a DJ, Timbaland is bored. He needs new challenges and wants to start from scratch.
“I’m tired of making hit songs,” lamented Tim, who said he’s the coach “Phil Jackson” of the studio. “I done made 20 #1 hit records. That’s old to me. Let somebody else go and do it. I gotta make records that mean something.”
With the exception of a few of his friends like Ludacris and Jay-Z, and a few prior obligations like “Take a Look Around” and “Re-Arranged” for a Limp Bizkit remix album (“When they hear them, they’ll be like ‘Uh oh, he can be a part of our band,’ ” he said), Tim said he’s laying off working with the big names. He wants to introduce the new acts on his own label, Beat Club.
“I’m really focusing on what I gotta do,” the Virginia native said. “I’m tired of making money for other labels. I need to make money for my label.”
Tim said he’s already finished the albums by his first two artists, rappers Bubba Sparxxx — who’ll invade video outlets any day now, racing tractor trailers and wrestling hogs in his clip for “Ugly” — and Jade, who Tim said will have Furtado on her second single. With his brother Sebastian (the author of many of Timbaland’s rhymes) “two songs away” from being done with his debut and singers Storm and Shelby — whom he describes as “Timbaland meets LeAnn Rimes” — waiting in the wings, Tim feels he’s building another dynasty.
“I don’t mess with artists that are just artists, I mess with superstars,” he boldly declared. “That’s how Timbaland got his name, because he broke people. That’s why I stopped doing a lot of acts.”
And although he didn’t stop working with them altogether, Tim’s presence was noticeably lessened on the latest LPs by his Superfriend clique members Aaliyah and Ginuwine.
“Let me clear that up,” he said. “A lot of people say we kinda separated. That’s not the truth. The reason I wasn’t on these albums like Aaliyah and Ginuwine is because at one point in time, all of us was trying to come out at the same time. I’m one man. I can’t do it all.
“I was working with [fellow Superfriend member] Missy Elliott, I had to do her whole album. I was working with Ginuwine but he had some other producers he wanted to work with. And the timing, Sony wanted to rush and put it out. Aaliyah was in Australia filming a movie so I couldn’t go to Australia. A lot of my focus was on Beat Club. I try to give those artists, which is my family, hits. But if I give them all away, I can’t concentrate on myself.”
One project that isn’t Timbaland’s focal point is his latest album with Magoo, Indecent Proposal. He said that although he’ll still support it when it drops, the delays in the album’s release have taken away his enthusiasm.
“[The album's being released] on Blackground through Virgin, so that’s on them,” Tim said nonchalantly. “It’s been done for like a year. It’s hot. We gotta shoot the right video. Magoo is ready. I got Petey Pablo on four records. I got Twista, Jay-Z, I got Beck [on what] might be a bonus track. The album is crazy but it’s been so long, it don’t hit me like my new stuff.”
A spokesperson at Blackground said the LP is now going to be released in October or November and has no idea what the holdup is.
Aside from his Interscope imprint, another project that tickles Timbaland pink when he thinks of it is his work on the new No Doubt album.
“Gwen [Stefani] is so adorable,” he said, laughing to himself. “I talk to her like a real person, not as no industry cat. She needs Phil Jackson sometimes too. Her rhythm is different from my rhythm, so she’ll be like ‘I’mma go in there Tim and get the rhythm that you talk about.’ The whole band is crazy.”
Like he does so often, Tim said he switched gears with his production on No Doubt, the Beat Club projects and on the work he did on upcoming albums by Ludacris, Petey Pablo and Jay-Z.
“I feel like I’m back to the drawing board,” he said. “My beats is gonna have more of a grind on them.”
He’s hoping to mesh that grind with the banging thrash of heavy metal one day.
["I would like to work with] Metallica,” he said. “I’mma reach out to Metallica and to Trent Reznor. I’m on a whole different vibe. I have to take that world and mix in what I do in R&B and freak it.”