Timbo revealed the pivotal role that Missy Elliott played in his career and how DeVanté Swing, a founding member of the R&B group Jodeci, handpicked his crew for him.
“Missy was part of a group called Fayze,” Timbaland explained, noting that Missy was the one who pulled him into the fold. “I was the producer for Fayze … Missy met DeVanté and them backstage [at a show]. Luck of the draw. She met them, played the music, DeVanté flew them up to Jersey.”
He added, “Then she said she wanted to fly the producer up … he said cool. I went and stayed up there, and that’s where I developed my sound.
Fayze was later renamed as Sista, becoming Missy’s official commercial introduction to the game.
“DeVanté actually built my crew,” Timbaland explained, stating that Ginuwine was also discovered by the Jodeci member after a concert. “[DeVanté] built a crew for himself, but it was actually for me … he didn’t work with none of them.”
That crew included Ginuwine, the late Static Major — a member of the group Playa who wrote for Aaliyah (“Try Again”) and Lil Wayne (“Lollipop”) — and Missy. All three released era-defining projects thanks to Timbaland’s signature sound.
“I was the guy doing 100 beats a night,” he said, reminiscing on those early days. “They were all in the studio with me … I was creating the sound. There you have it.”
Check out the full Drink Champs interview with Timbaland above.