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American producer Timbaland is a groundbreaking songwriter with a distinctive style that came to define much of popular music at the turn of the millennium, futurizing hip-hop while simultaneously crossing over into the worlds of pop and rock. Ascending to the top of the industry in the late '90s, he balanced his in-demand hitmaking abilities with his recognizable production style, yielding an endless list of hits for a select group of affiliates (Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, Jay-Z, Ginuwine) and a number of other A-list artists (Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Nas), infusing a remarkable sense of individuality and creativity into his productions. His trademark sound featured stuttering, bass-heavy bounce beats offset by resounding high-end synth stabs, all of this often complemented by his signature quiet murmuring beneath the track. Over time, Timbaland began taking an increasingly assembly-line approach to his signature production, working with a team of co-producers and songwriters including Nathaniel "Danjahandz" Hills, the Clutch, and Justin Timberlake. He also began producing a wider array of acts, ranging from alternative icons Björk, Chris Cornell, and M.I.A. to mainstream pop acts the Fray, Nelly Furtado, and Madonna.

Born Timothy Zachery Mosley in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1972, he got his start as a DJ when he was still a teenager. His earliest collaborators included his high school pal Melvin Barcliff, who the world would later be known as rapper and musical partner Magoo, as well as his cousin Pharrell Williams in the production crew S.B.I. Making a steady climb through the ranks with some help from Jodeci's DeVante Swing, who recruited the young producer for work on efforts for his Swing Mob label, Timbaland soon broke through as a major player with tracks for Missy ("The Rain"), Aaliyah ("If Your Girl Only Knew"), and Ginuwine ("Pony"). Once he established himself with these three, he began working with industry heavyweights like Jay-Z ("Big Pimpin'"), Nas ("You Won't See Me Tonight"), Snoop Dogg ("Snoop Dogg "), and Ludacris ("Rollout "). He also worked with regional artists such as Petey Pablo ("Raise Up"), Pastor Troy ("Are We Cuttin'"), and Tweet ("Oops "). 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 that included Bubba Sparxxx and Ms. Jade.

In the midst of his production work, he began to release his own material. From 1997 to 2003, he issued three Timbaland & Magoo albums (while 1998's Tim's Bio was a solo album in name). Meanwhile, his studio wizardy began to impact the pop mainstream with notable 2006 albums such as Timberlake's Grammy-winning FutureSex/LoveSounds and Furtado's Grammy-nominated Loose, as well as the alternative charts with contributions to Björk's Volta and M.I.A.'s Kala in 2007. That same year, he dropped Timbaland Presents Shock Value, scoring additional radio hits with the U.S. chart-topping "Give It to Me," featuring Furtado and Timberlake, and "The Way I Are," with Keri Hilson and D.O.E. While 2009's Shock Value II didn't reach the same heights as its predecessor, Timbaland still managed to enlist an impressive roster of talent, from old collaborators Timberlake and Furtado to Drake, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, and even rock acts like Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger and Australian band Jet. That year he also turned heads with the controversial pop turn for Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell (his solo effort Scream), while delivering Hilson's official debut and working with Shakira and Wyclef Jean.

Into the 2010s, he would continue to produce singles like "Talk That" with T-Pain; "Pass at Me" with Pitbull; "Break Ya Back" with Dev; and "Know 'Bout Me" with Jay-Z, Drake, and James Fauntleroy. Notable albums during the decade included Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience, Jay-Z's Magna Carta... Holy Grail, Beyonce's game-changing self-titled surprise drop, and Tee Grizzley's Scriptures. He also issued another "solo" set heavy on features, 2015's mixtape King Stays King, and contributed heavily to the music for the hit television series Empire.

Timbaland kicked off the 2020s with production for Megan Thee Stallion, Teyana Taylor, 6lack, Burna Boy, J. Cole, Jack Harlow, and others, though his output was not as prolific as in decades past. In 2023, he reunited with Furtado and Timberlake for the single "Keep Going Up" and contributed to the soundtrack to the film remake of The Color Purple. ~ Neil Z. Yeung & Jason Birchmeier

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