MUSIC REVIEW: Timbaland

Shock Value Mosley/Blackground/Interscope
Music •••½ Sound ••••
We got to know producer Timbaland through the likes of Missy Elliott, Jay-Z, Aaliyah, Nas, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, and Nelly Furtado. At the same time, we really got to know those artists because of him. After all, Timbaland - whose real name is Timothy Z. Mosley - helped draft the blueprints for much of the past decade's hip-hop and R&B styles, such as the space-age funk/rap of Elliott and the Dirty Southern-fried beats of Ludacris.

Timbaland has released his own stuff, too (usually co-billed with rapper Magoo). Shock Value is in fact his fifth album (and his first since 2003's Under Construction Part II). And if you like what he's done on Elliott's records, then you'll dig "Give It to Me," which features the kind of booming beat you'd expect to hear from her albums but which instead has Furtado and Justin Timberlake sharing the mike. Have a craving for Elliott's own vocals? Don't worry: You'll get an earful of them when she sings with Timberlake and Dr. Dre on the boob-and-booty banger "Bounce." Another track that'll knock your headphones off is "Come and Get Me," where 50 Cent and Tony Yayo bring out the apparent gangsta in Timbaland with their flesh-piercing, sometimes chuckle-inducing flow.

Some of the more surprising guests include the Hives ("Throw It on Me," which doesn't rock like you'd imagine it might) and Fall Out Boy ("One and Only"). Elton John turns up for "2 Man Show," which effectively mixes rap rhythm, ivory twinkle, and choir vocals, yet the track ultimately falls short since Elton just plays and doesn't sing.

Throughout, Timbaland plays, too, tackling drums, synth, and guitar - and on a few tracks, nearly everything. Yet the spotlight stays on his production and arrangement prowess. And if the album doesn't actually have much shock value, it's a strong reminder of how big Timbaland's footprint really is.

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