A YouTube video floating around the Internet is making a controversial claim: that multiplatinum producer Timbaland might be guilty of violating his very own first rule of Beat Club — no biting.
A YouTube user named TimbalandRips posted a brief clip on the Web site last week that accuses the veteran hip-hop beatsmith of stealing a melody from a little-known Finnish producer named Janne Suni. The video claims Timbaland used Suni's "Acidjazzed Evening" without permission for Nelly Furtado's "Do It," a track from the Canadian singer's most recent album, Loose.
In the video, portions of Suni's song are played first, followed by parts of Timbaland's track, with a recording program indicating the similarities between the two compositions on a computer screen. Toward the end of the clips, text appears asking, "Hm, strangely perfect fit..?"
A second YouTube video has also popped up, suggesting Timbaland used the same Suni work for a ringtone he produced last year titled "Block Party."
Timbaland's representatives had not responded to phone and e-mail queries at press time. A message on a Web site with a Finnish address that appears to be Suni's official site reads, "I have been using the services of a law firm since September 2006. I expect to have more information to publish by Tuesday." The site also indicates that Suni composed "Acidjazzed Evening" under the name Tempest in 2000 for Assembly, a demoparty, or a regular gathering of computer enthusiasts.
The site goes on to say that following Assembly — where the song bested 14 others to win a competition for "Oldskool Music" — the track, along with all the others released at the party, were uploaded to Scene.org, "which is a registered nonprofit organization aimed at providing the electronic-art scene with a forum for communication and a platform to share their work," the statement reads. "I have never given up the copyrights of 'Acidjazzed Evening.' I also have never authorized commercial use of the song."
Although Timbaland has long collaborated with artists, in recent years the Virginia native has sought out other songwriter/producers to collaborate with as well. Rumors have swirled that he and Scott Storch had a falling out over production credits on Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me a River" (Timbaland was named as producer; Storch was credited with playing keyboards). And for Timberlake and Furtado's latest LPs, Timbaland collaborated with upstart producer Nate "Danjahandz" Hills on a number of songs; in a recent issue of Complex magazine, the novice beatmaker said Timbaland has called Danja his successor. The pair, along with Timberlake, received two Grammy nominations this year, for Album of the Year (FutureSex/LoveSounds) and Best Dance Recording ("SexyBack").
As of press time, no legal action has been taken against Timbaland or his parent record label, Geffen Records.