Mariah Carey has been Justified.
Justin Timberlake has joined Jay-Z and Cam'ron on the list of artists lending a hand as Carey prepares her new album. Timberlake added verses and harmonies to Carey's mid-tempo "Yours" last week, and while it's still pending the heartbreaker's approval, the song's seasoned producers already smell a hit.
"If I were to compare it to something we have done with her in the past, it would be 'Thank God I Found You,' but I think 'Yours' blows it away," said Jimmy Jam, who produced the track with partner Terry Lewis. "It is probably one of the best hooks [ever]. I have a 6-year-old, and the first time he heard it, the third time the hook came around, he already knew it."
Carey has already approved a version of 'Yours' without Timberlake for her as-yet-untitled album, due December 10, but she's flying to Jam and Lewis' Minneapolis studio on Tuesday (October 15) to hear the just-mixed duet and decide if it's better. Jam is convinced she will.
"At the end she did a series of ad libs, and he totally did them exactly with her but an octave below her," he explained. "They were kind of intricate, ... but he totally matched everything. He's mega-talented, and to have them both on the same track is special."
Jam and Lewis are among an impressive list of producers who have recorded Carey for her follow-up to the disastrous "Glitter" soundtrack. Others include Jermaine Dupri on a track called "The One," Dre and Vidal (Michael Jackson), Damizza (Nate Dogg), DJ Quik, Irv Gotti, and 7 Aurelius (see "Mariah Carey Records In Bahamas With Live Band, Strips Down With 7").
Just Blaze (Nelly) produced a track called "You Got Me" that features Jay-Z and Freeway, as well as a cover of Cam'ron's "Oh Boy" featuring Cam.
The album will be the first on Carey's own MonarC Music imprint (see "Mariah Signs With Island/Def Jam, Records With JD").
Jam and Lewis, who have collaborated with Carey for years, will likely have three tracks on the new album: "Yours," the tentatively titled "Wedding Song," which Carey rescued and penned lyrics for long after Jam and Lewis forgot about it, and the first single, "Through the Rain" (see "Mariah Carey Insists She Just Needed Sleep, Taps Family History For Clip").
"I think 'Through the Rain' is a great way to start the record, because it is emotional and it kind of speaks directly to the questions people might have about the last year of her life," Jam said. "It's a good idea to get that out of the way and move on to happy, less emotional songs."
And there are plenty of upbeat Carey songs to move on to. "She's happy," Jam said. "She loves doing music and recording it. I thought Mariah was very focused and intense, as she usually is, but also at the same time much more relaxed."
At the video set for 'Through the Rain' late last month, Carey promised an album much different than "Through the Rain."
"There are records on the album that are definitely going to be perceived as [sentimental]," she said. "There are a lot of lyrics that are very honest and direct and about me and just about my life as a human being. ... And then there are records that are really fun, like escapism for me. It's not like I'm going to suddenly write this woeful album. 'Oh misery.' No! I choose to turn those things into positives 'cause that's how I get through life."
In other Carey and Timberlake news, the two will be sharing the stage later this month along with Ja Rule, India.Arie, Jill Scott, Eric Clapton, Elton John and others. They will be honoring Stevie Wonder at BET's eighth annual Walk of Fame induction ceremony, which is taping October 19 in Washington, D.C., and airing October 29.
Jamie Foxx is hosting the event, which has recognized Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Boyz II Men in past years.
For more on Justin Timberlake, check out our recent feature "Justin Timberlake: Justify My Love."