Now it seems like [artist id=”1231683″]Justin Timberlake[/artist] is just messing with us. After endlessly deflecting questions about when, or if, he will return to making records, Timberlake dipped another toe into the music pool recently when he directed and made a cameo in the video for “Hoodies On, Hats Low” for his pals FreeSol, who are signed to JT’s Tennman record label.
Justin tweeted a link to the video on Wednesday, telling his 5.6 million followers, “new music … if you like it pass it along.” In addition to paying homage to JT’s hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, by showing a number of local landmarks in the town, which also gave birth to the group fronted by the rapper known as Free, the clip, which Timberlake directed along with Aaron Platt and Joseph Toman, marks yet another feather in the cap of the singer/actor/producer and talent scout.
Though he sat behind the camera to film the video, for the most part Timberlake lets Free do the heavy lifting, content to toss in the casual air-drumming solo, whispered background vocal and shuffling two-step. The song has a rhythm-heavy vibe that brings to mind Timberlake’s “Sexyback” era, with Free walking and driving across Memphis as a group of hoodied bandits do some viral marketing for the group all over town.
Just after some product placement for Beats by Dre headphones, Timberlake pops up at a sidewalk barbecue party nearly two minutes in, sitting in a chair next to Free, rocking a hoodie, shades, and jeans as he adds some sporadic backing vocals to the funky track. He also shows of some of his patented swivel-hipped dance moves while strutting down an alley and again at a warehouse party.
It’s yet another musical tease from Timberlake, who hasn’t released a studio album since 2006’s FutureSex/LoveSounds. Though he’s frequently flexed his musical muscle on “Saturday Night Live” and other late-night TV over the years, he’s spent most of the past few making movies such as “Social Network” and “Friends With Benefits,” while batting away endless questions about when, or if, he’ll make a return to the studio.
In a recent Vanity Fair article, when asked if he would work on a third solo album soon, Timberlake demurred, saying, “I really don’t know … I wouldn’t say I’m not going to put out another one. I would say that would be a bad bet, if you were betting. But I could see myself only doing one more big tour.”
FreeSol’s debut, No Rules, is slated for release later this year, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, JT produced a few tracks on it, along with Jim Jonsin (Beyoncé) and Mike Elizondo (Eminem).