5 Justin Timberlake and Timbaland Collabos We'll Never Forget
January 15, 2013 - 5:57 pm
William E. Ketchum III
“Cry Me A River”
Justin Timberlake’s Neptunes-produced single “Like I Love You” showed startled music fans that he was ready to take a shot at the pop/R&B throne, but for his second shot. But for his second shot, he called up Timbo for “Cry Me A River:” a spiteful, merciless song dedicated to his pop star ex-girlfriend. Timbaland enlisted Scott Storch and other musicians for strings, clavinet and guitar, and the video won two MTV VMAs. The single won a Grammy, and a new solo pop star was born.
50 Cent needed a hit single for his 2007 album Curtis to compete against Kanye West’s Graduation, and he knew exactly who to go to. The ubiquitous porn ode “Ayo Technology” blew up clubs in the U.S. and overseas with 50’s tight-knit flow, Justin’s catchy chorus, and Timbaland’s beat—a combo of synths and shuffling video game blips.
“Give It To Me”
When Timbaland made his own transition into the pop world with his album Shock Value, he went back to Timberlake, who had had helped break through less than a decade earlier. The duo teamed with Nelly Furtado for “Give It To Me,” a club-ready tune with Timbaland’s signature punchy percussion, and verses by Timbo and Timberlake that took subliminal shots at their detractors. The song landed at the top of the Billboard’s Hot 100, and earned a Grammy nomination for the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.
Madonna “4 Minutes”
Pop icon Madonna enlisted Timbaland and Timberlake for “4 Minutes,” the single to her album Hard Candy. JT and Madonna go back and forth in the song’s verses and sing together for the song’s chorus, and Timbaland serves up a poppy combo of cowbells and horns to make the song club-ready. The song earned two Grammy nominations and earned Madonna another number one album.
“What Goes Around…Comes Around”
“SexyBack” and “My Love” were the indisputable dance floor magnets from Justin’s Timbaland-produced FutureSex/LoveSounds, but the album’s real highlight was its third single, “What Goes Around…Comes Around.” Timbaland built the seven-minute suite with a string arrangement and one of his signature beat change-ups, while JT used his falsetto to vehicle another set of scornful lyrics. The song sounded like an evolved sequel to the duo’s first time striking gold with “Cry Me A River.” The result was another Billboard chart topper and another successful trip to the Grammys—but the guys were used to it by this point.