Timbaland has worked with many legendary artists throughout his storied career, so it's safe to say that he's not easily impressed at this point. That's why our ears perked up when he started to gush about a young rapper and singer from Chicago by the name of Tink.
Tink got her first big mainstream push when Timbaland premiered an alternate version of Rick Ross' "Movin' Bass," which found her rapping alongside Jay Z and Rozay -- but she's been working hard at her craft for years prior to this.
The 20-year-old has released several mixtapes, including 2012's Winter's Diary and it's 2014 follow-up, Winter's Diary 2.
And this week, she told MTV News that she had been performing at talent shows in her hometown for years. She's always had the support of her family -- mom is a singer and her father helped to engineer her first mixtapes -- and now she has the help of a mastermind.
"Working with Timbaland, he gives me insight, he throws me different ways to approach the beat and those extra tips go a long way," Tink told MTV News on Thursday, Apr 2. "I know that he's worked with some of the greats, so it's just motivation. I feel inspired when we're in the booth together."
She admitted to being pretty nervous when she flew out to L.A. to meet him for the first time, but that dissipated quickly, once she realized how passionate he was about the music, and not the money.
"I was nervous as hell. I'm thinking about everything Timbaland has done, who he's worked with -- I thought he was gonna be Hollywood," she said, laughing. "I didn't know if he would like what I had on, if he was gonna think I was corny, but when I sat down with him and we talked the conversation was so genuine."
Timb is so passionate about Tink that he recently went as far as saying that Aaliyah told him "she's the one." Even with all of the hype surrounding her, Tink remains noticeably grounded and focused on the music.
"What I want people to really understand, [is that] there will never be another Aaliyah," she said matter-of-factly. "And that's not what he was trying to convey. He was saying was that Aaliyah came to him in a dream and gave him confirmation and I really do believe that that's what happened.
"Timb talks about this all the time, about how the music feels classic and timeless -- he's very passionate about it. He's like that. He'll tell you how he feels."
These days, she doesn't have to stay up late nights fishing for beats on her own, but signing with Epic Records and Timb's Mosley Music Group does mean that she'll have to deal with industry politics. So far, it seems like she's taking it all in stride though. For example, Rick Ross wasn't pleased when Timb shared the alternate version of "Movin' Bass," but she's looking at the bright side of things.
"I took it for what it was," she said. "The song never really got put out the proper way, but at the same time, for people to hear me next to Jay and Ross, it helped me to gain a lot of respect. And if I run into Ross -- and if you're listening -- and you need help making another smash, I'm still here. I'm open."
Tink's sensibilities shine through in her music, as well. Her debut album is slated for release later this year, and on its lead single, "Ratchet Commandments," she lays down some advice that you wouldn't necessarily expect to hear from a 20-year-old.
"There's not really too many artists that young girls and young people can look up to and be inspired by," she told MTV News. "So I take it as my responsibility, sometimes, to be the person who has the voice to give people some truth about what we're doing."