released Dec 8th
from the album - Morning After Dark
Timbaland ascended to the top of the rap industry in the late '90s, impressively balancing his in-demand hitmaking abilities with his outlandish production style. Few rap producers were capable of such a balance between commerce and craft. Timbaland produced an endless list of hits, primarily for a select group of affiliates (Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, Jay-Z, Ginuwine) though also for a number of other A-list artists (Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Nas, Justin Timberlake). Even so, he always infused a remarkable sense of individuality and creativity into his productions. When you hear a Timbaland production generally there is no mistaking it for anyone else's work: stuttering bass-heavy bounce beats offset resounding high-end synth stabs, all of this often complemented by his own signature-like quiet murmuring beneath the track; and no sampling. However, over time Timbaland began taking an increasingly assembly-line approach to production, working with a team of co-producers and songwriters including Nathaniel "Danjahandz" Hills, the Clutch, and Justin Timberlake. Plus, he began producing an increasingly wide array of acts, ranging from alternative icons Björk and M.I.A. to MOR pop/rockers the Fray and Ashlee Simpson.
In the late '90s, when Timbaland was still relatively new on the scene, the Virginia native worked extensively with Missy ("The Rain"), Aaliyah ("If Your Girl Only Knew"), and Ginuwine ("Pony"). Later, once he'd established himself with these three, he began working with the top rappers in the industry, namely Jay-Z ("Big Pimpin'"), Nas ("You Won't See Me Tonight"), Snoop Dogg ("Snoop Dogg [What's My Name, Pt. 2]"), and Ludacris ("Rollout [My Business]"). He also worked occasionally with lesser-known regional artists such as Petey Pablo ("Raise Up"), Pastor Troy ("Are We Cuttin'"), and Tweet ("Oops [Oh My]"). As a result of his exceptional success as a producer, Timbaland eventually established his own record label, Beat Club, and began unveiling his own stable of artists (Bubba Sparxxx, Ms. Jade). His records, most co-billed with rapping friend Magoo, spotlighted his access to the top rappers in the business: Missy Elliott, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Wyclef Jean. From 1997 through 2003, he released three Timbaland & Magoo albums, while 1998's Tim's Bio was a solo album in name. Released in 2007, Timbaland Presents Shock Value, along with its equally ambitious 2009 sequel, featured a mixture of vocalists, rappers, and rock bands. The former scored a couple major hits: "Give It to Me," featuring Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake, reached number one on the Hot 100, while "The Way I Are," with Keri Hilson and D.O.E., topped out at the third position.
Shock Value produced a pair of smash singles in “Give It to Me” and “The Way I Are,” thus necessitating a sequel. Timbaland does not stock Shock Value II with quite as many guests, and performs a higher percentage of the vocals, and what results is less schizophrenic and more directly pop than its antecedent. The highs here are not as high, and the lows are as low, unless you consider the very presence of Chad Kroeger and Daughtry, or the unveiling of Brandy’s rapping alter ego Bran’ Nu, to be more odious than a sub-Coldplay ballad. The closing “Timothy Where You Been,” a rambling, quasi-country number -- imagine a slight twang in Tim’s voice as he declares “Hits for Jay-Z, Nelly Furtado/Catch up, y’all slow, escargot” -- is the only song to truly leave Tim’s comfort zone. Otherwise, these productions are in the same vein of his output during the last several years: high-gloss dance-pop (sometimes with guitar) that is a little too pop to be easily categorized as R&B or hip-hop. What does come through is that the producer has his sight set on a younger crowd, a notion apparent through the appearances from Miley Cyrus and Jojo, as well as the album’s lack of a parental advisory label (not to mention that a contribution from convicted felon Chris Brown was extracted a couple weeks prior to the album’s release). The dirtiest the album gets is the lethargic Justin Timberlake feature “Carry Out,” where it is possible that they were aiming for a contemporary “Dick in a Box” (“Number one, I’ll take two number threes/That’s a whole lot of you and a side of me”) and came up short. The whole thing sounds like it was made fairly quickly, as if Tim came up with a clever idea and proceeded to fill out the track with whatever came to mind first, rather than truly enhance it. There’s no other way to explain how the borderline brilliant beat of “Morning After Dark” ended up with a faux horror-house hook like “When the bats come out, the cats come out to play, yeaauh.” That said, it is a mildly entertaining album -- as long as you block out most of the lyrics.
1 Intro :48
2 Carry Out Beanz, Clayton, J. Harmon ... 3:52
3 Lose Control Briscoe, J. Harmon, Mosley 4:27
4 Meet in tha Middle Clayton, Dawson, Mosley 4:00
5 Say Something Clayton, J. Harmon, Mosley 4:00
6 Tomorrow in the Bottle Beanz, Clayton, J. Harmon ... 5:27
7 We Belong to the Music Beanz, J. Harmon, Milsap ... 4:27
8 Morning After Dark Beanz, Bell, Furtado, Hilson ... 3:51
9 If We Ever Meet Again Beanz, Busbee, Mosley 4:52
10 Can You Feel It Beanz, Clayton, J. Harmon ... 4:44
11 Ease Off the Liquor Beanz, Clayton, J. Harmon ... 5:58
12 Undertow Beanz, Mosley, Slade 4:21
13 Timothy Where You Been Beanz, Clayton, J. Harmon ... 4:50