Any student of the ’90s remembers the catchy hits that emerged from Timbaland’s early R&B work with the likes of Aaliyah, Missy Elliott and Ginuwine. The Virginia producer helmed the majority of Ginuwine’s 1996 debut, Ginuwine…The Bachelor, including the No. 1 hit “Pony.”
Years later, their relationship is now fractured, according to Ginuwine. But that doesn’t stop the singer from supporting his former mentor in VIBE’s Best Producer of All Time contest. Timbaland is the No. 1 seed, up against Polow Da Don in the first round in the Mass Appeal category.
“He really hasn’t been interested in working with me, so I can’t speak on the present,” Ginuwine tells VIBE of Timbaland. “But back in the days, it spoke for itself as far as him being the most sought after producer. Music was boring until he came out with that new sound. Back then, I would have described it as futuristic because it was something that had not been done and people jumped on it. If it wasn’t for him making that style as hot as it is, a lot of producers that’s out now maybe wouldn’t even be here.”
The singer adds that he’s still upset at Timbaland for not supporting him promotionally on his 2009 project, A Man’s Thoughts, despite producing a song for the album.
“Me and Tim were real close at one point. A lot of the times that I reached out, there were a bunch of excuses,” explains Ginuwine. “I begged and pleaded with him because I felt a certain way but I was like, is it just a bad vibe that I’m picking up on? Maybe I’m bugging out, I don’t know. But it came out to be true and I still feel like he owes me an apology for that. The reason I’m pissed off at him now is because of what he did. I would’ve been cool and not bothered him if he would’ve said, ‘Nah, I’m too busy,’ or gave me the lame excuse like he’s been giving me. But don’t do it and then not do what you’re supposed to do [to promote the song].”
As for the producers battle, Ginuwine could see Polow having the edge in the first round, only because Timbaland has been leaning more pop lately. But Tim would still have to get past Jermaine Dupri and Swizz Beatz to go against the Neptunes in the final round of his category. Ginuwine thinks he can beat out the Neptunes.
“I would have to go with Tim. I’m still a man. I’m not gonna not say the truth just ’cause I’m mad at you. [Laughs] He’s one of the best producers ever to me,” says Ginuwine. “Pharrell actually came up behind him. And the only reason I said Polow [in the first round], I’m looking at it on a level of what’s out now. But as a whole, there’s no one that can touch Timbaland.”
While some have labeled Timbo a sell-out because of his recent work with pop stars like Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado, Ginuwine disagrees.
“I don’t know about the sold out thing. I think any smart businessman would go where the money is bigger, but I also feel like you don’t forget your roots either,” says Ginuwine. “You don’t alienate the people that helped you and started you out… What is it about me now that you just don’t like? And if it is something, say it. I can take truth. I can’t take that kind of stuff and right now I don’t really like him. I really don’t. That’s not being a man.”
Ginuwine is roughly 18 songs into his upcoming seventh album, Elgin, which he hopes to release this August. Producers include Bryan Michael Cox and Diane Warren. “I did a great pop song, a great crossover song with her,” says Ginuwine. He’s also looking to hit the studio with Lil Kim, Trina, Ryan Leslie and the Underdogs. —Clover Hope