It's not hyperbole to say that producer and MC Timbaland changed the face of hip-hop and R&B in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Virginia native's revolutionary work with singer/rapper Missy Elliott was unlike anything previously heard in contemporary black music at the time, and it made Timbaland one of the most sought-after producers in the game. He subsequently brought his frenetic avalanche of stuttering beats and synth samples to bear on the music of, among others, Jay-Z, Nelly Furtado, and Justin Timberlake. In addition to his work as one half of the rap duo Timbaland & Magoo, Timbaland released his first proper solo album, SHOCK VALUE, in 2007.
Timbaland is already acknowledged as one of music''s most inventive and distinctive creators. Yet the artist/producer''s forthcoming album, just his second solo album, promises to shock the world. Timbaland Presents Shock Value (Mosley Music Group/Blackground/Interscope) is set for release April 3, 2007. The first single, ''Give It To Me,'' featuring Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado. ''My mission is to blow up the boundaries and tear down the limits,'' says Timbaland. I''m taking my music outside of the box. I''m not getting away from what I''m known for; I''m just going to a place where it''s all about the music, not about the labels on the music. That''s why I call it Shock Value--from the artists to the production, it will shock the system. Guests include Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtadio, Jay-Z, Fall Out Boy, Nicole Scherzinger (PCD), Snoop Dogg, Lil'' Wayne, Twista, She Wants Revenge, The Hives, Keri Hilson, Elton John and more. This is the explict version.
When the most exciting producer in pop music himself puts out a CD, the thrill is in the discovery: The world may have already suspected that Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado, and a small army of other singers owed 75% of their fame to the stockpile of skittering beats Timbaland built and then graciously set them upon, but here''s a chance to prove it. Or it might have been in less welcoming hands. Shock Value is a far-reaching and ambitious disc; a masterpiece, even, in its own way. But it''s not at all self-centered. If there''s a point being put across here, it''s that Timbaland came by your vote as behind-the-scenes musical man of the hour honestly: pair him with Fall Out Boy or the Strokes, and he will not only provide tracks that surprise you by maintaining their rock ''n'' roll integrity, he will also convince you that shimmer''s role in rock music has, to now, been tragically misguided and miniscule. Re-team him with Timberlake and Furtado (for the near-flawless track "Give It to Me") and he will again trade vocal bites, but they will still be nibbly, not voracious. In a CD full of experiments and puzzles (why is Elton John just piano-playing, not singing? And how did the L.A. band One Republic end up on this disc?) a single truth emerges: Timbaland''s taste is impeccable, but his judgment is even better. Shock Value, by virtue of its swirly beats and mesmerizing rhythms, will bring him a smidge closer to the spotlight. But because it''s a disc of collaborations, he''ll retain the shadowy-genius reputation that precedes him, and that he so richly deserves. --Tammy La Gorce
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