Timbaland may be the most
innovative producer of our time. He’s arguably done more for other artists than
any other producer in Hip Hop (or now even pop) history. Whenever Tim gets behind the boards, we all know
something special is coming. At this point in his career he could be dubbed “The
Master Of Reinvention.” There was even a time when producers attempted to mimic
his trademark stuttering drums which led Tim
to reinvent himself by using ridiculous sounds (“Are You That Somebody’s” baby
cries anyone?) to make sure that that he always was one step ahead of the game.
But there’s always been one glaring problem with Timothy Mosely…he can’t create the same magic for himself as he
does for others. With that in consideration, Timbaland employs some A-list guests for his new album Shock Therapy. Will he succeed in the
one thing that his career is devoid from- an excellent album?
Just like how mixtape emcees like Lloyd
Banks, Fabolous and Joe Budden are excellent everywhere
else but their own albums, Timbaland
is with his production. Shock Value
is no different. Everything on the album feels disconnected. From the
guest list down to the production, Shock
Value doesn’t really shock anyone except for a few choice cuts.
“Oh Timbaland” shows Tim‘s
penchant for banging out a dope beat. Utilizing the same Nina Simone sample that Talib
Kweli rocked on “Get By,” Timbaland
manipulates the sample to create a hook that sounds like its saying “Oh
Timbaland.” Pretty ill if you know how the original sounds. Elsewhere, Tim rules the pop aesthetic alongside Keri Hilson and soon-to-be-ex-PCD Nicole Scherzinger on the edgy guitar driven track “Scream.” The
production throughout Shock Value is
solid although nothing really takes it to the next-next level that people
expect from Timbaland. It must suck
to be so ahead of your time that even next level production falls short of
Sometimes we wish Timbaland would
stop rapping. Other times we just try to drown out his blahzay lyrics because
the beats are just that dope. Well, on Shock
Value he brings along some guests that sound just as bad as he does. Case
in point is “Bounce.” The beat is absolutely bonkers and, on paper, the guest
list of Dr. Dre, Missy and Justin Timberlake should prove to be a
shining moment. Well in the infamous words of Borat, “Not So Much.” Yeah, Justin
Timberlake‘s hook is wack as hell (“Bounce, like your ass had the hiccups”)
and we all know Dre wouldn’t do
nothing genius unless Eminem or Jay-Z or somebody put the ghost ink to
the pad for him. But Missy‘s verse?
“Hold up/Hell Nah/Like Brittney Spears, I wear no drawers”…yeeeeeaaaah. Way to
go ruining a dope beat. Thanks guys.
There are several cuts on the album that either shouldn’t be on this
particular album or omitted completely from the Timbaland library. While 50
Cent rocks out on “Come & Get Me,” Timbaland
and Tony Yayo‘s verses are so
wretched that they ruin the entire track. “Boardmeeting” finds Tim getting Magoo back in the groove and Magoo
once again proves that he ain’t worth shit. Not to mention the concept of the
track pulls up lamer than a Shaq
free throw. Even the snoozer song with Elton John titled “2 Man Show” feels a bit contrived as Timbaland is basically rubbing our
noses in his “see-what-I-can-accomplish” musk.
Sure there are some wack moments but there are a few that work too. “Give It
To Me” still rumbles as Timberlake, Furtado and Timbaland talk shit. Rockers She
Wants Revenge and Fall Out Boy
make Timbaland go to work on “Time”
and “One & Only” respectively. But the jewel of the album is the
collaboration with One Republic on “Apologize.”
Timbaland begins with light
keys as the vocals echo with a certain moodiness that swarms upon the listener
right before Tim injects some slapping
drums that allow this song (and album) to go from 0-60 in a matter of
moments….however brief those moments are.
Shock Value is basically an album
that validates Timbaland‘s “I can do
whatever the fuck I want” stance. He has unconventional collaborations, shows
loyalty to old friends and concocts a hodgepodge of stuff that he can proudly
say that he’s accomplished. Unfortunately those accomplishments just look good
on paper…not so hot on record.