No one has ever confused Timbaland with being a shrinking violet. The veteran producer, who is fresh off of his lauded work on Michael Jackson’s posthumous work Xscape, has never been one to take the humble highroad. And according to Tim, his studio efforts on the Gloved One’s chart-topping, re-envisioned release has helped him make a connection with one of popular music’s most celebrated producers.
“I always wanted to hear my music under Michael’s voice,” Timbaland tells VIBE. “For me it was more of a challenge to show the world that I am the modern day Quincy Jones. There’s nothing I can’t do. There’s nothing I can’t accomplishment. The way I hear music is I’m always ahead of everybody. If I can’t do anything right I can at least hear sounds and how it should be heard.”
While such a statement may be considered blasphemous (Jones’ musical exploits goes beyond the pop field and even includes overseeing Oscar nominated film scores) there is this: Timbaland has been in the spotlight beyond fleeting trends and fads. While he may not match up to the murderer’s row of Jones’ list of larger-than-life collaborations (Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Sinatra, and Sarah Vaughn, Ray Charles, and, of course, Michael Jackson, just to name drop a few), Tim’s double-decade-plus run is nonetheless impressive.
Over time, he has logged studio sessions with such headlining acts as Jodeci, the late Aaliyah, Missy Elliott, Jay-Z, Destiny’s Child, Demi Lovato, OneRepublic and Justin Timberlake, becoming the last man standing and outlasting many of his ’90s production peers.
And he’s not resting on his ridiculously topped resume. Timbaland is aiming to match the greatness of another figure—the Purple One himself: Prince.
“The album that I’m about to put out—if you think my work on the Michael Jackson album is something you have no idea what I’m about to unleash,” he claims of his upcoming project entitled Opera Noir. “The best way I can describe it is this is my Purple Rain. And I’m going to have a movie to go with it. And wait ’til you hear the director who is doing it. It’s going to really bug you out!”
Timbaland adds that he’s almost done with the project and hopes to have something released by the end of the year. But don’t expect any trend-chasing guests to pop up on Opera Noir.
“I’ll give it another two months because right now I’m putting the finishing touches on it,” he says. “And the cool thing about it is there are no features, only me and my artists on it. This is some of the best music you will hear over the last 15 years. I’ve been going to different studios and letting different people hear the tracks. You can go around and ask. I’ve very excited about this album.” —Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)