No matter the hi-hat, chord, or vocal instrumentation, those with keen ears for music know when they’re listening to a Timbaland-produced track.
As a student of ’90s producer DeVante Swing, the Mosley Music Group CEO has dominated in a wide range of genres, including pop and dance. Over the last two decades, the four-time Grammy winner has been behind infectious mega-hits like Aaliyah’s “Try Again,” Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous,“ Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” and Missy Elliot’s “Get Ur Freak On.” and “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly).”
Now in 2022, the hitmaker — née Tim Mosley — has added his unmatched creativity and the Timbo treatment to a Christmas track exclusively for sports retailer Lids’ “Fitted Santa” hat campaign.
The “Fitted Santa” campaign for the upcoming holiday intertwines staple Lids fitted hats with the face of Christmas: Santa Claus. Amid new-age producers like Turbo, Metro Boomin, and ATL Jacob, tapping the icon to create a Christmas-themed beat and promo video was nothing less than a perfect match. In the campaign’s accompanying video, Timbo is dressed in a Santa suit, rocking a red “Fitted Santa” hat as he showcases his process for creating the official 2022 Lids custom Christmas track.
“[For this partnership], the main thing was kind of putting music to visuals. And that’s what kind of made me want to do it because I feel like I want to really display music with visuals,” he explained exclusively to VIBE. “I feel like that’s another way for creativity to be created is by showing different ways of showcasing your music.
“And this one was [about] showing the visuals and how I took those visual elements and created a beat. That was one of the main things that really attracted me to this project.”
In the early aughts, it wasn’t hard to decipher a Timbaland production track from the rest. Musical geniuses like Tim or Pharrell didn’t use tags to protect their beats but signature beat counts instead. Nowadays a song doesn’t start until you hear an “ATL Jacob, ATL Jacob” or “Metro Boomin want some mo’ ni**a!” or “Run that back Turbo” echo across a track. If you ask Timbaland, these tags are now considered “the greatest tags.” In fact, he believes they’ll allow producers like Turbo, ATL Jacob, and Metro Boomin to “have longevity.”
“I was talking to Turbo and I was telling him, ‘When y’all create these amazing tags, don’t look at it as producing a beat, you’re producing a business,” he shared. “Now you can go sell your tag to a game, run that back like a kind of glitch, and your tag is your worth now. It’s not the beat. The beat is dope, but I think when you create an amazing tag, it sells the music now.”
He added, “You have to look at the tag as bigger than the production because I don’t know if we’re going back to when the actual producer was put on a pedestal. People have a problem paying producers their worth. They’re always trying to get a deal. But I’m like, ‘You don’t get that same deal when you go to buy a car.’ It’s either you want that quality car or you want to ride in the car you’re already riding in. You’re still getting from point A to point B, but people be like, ‘F**k it. Once I get from point A to B, I’m good. I can get to point B with any car.’”
Timbaland’s moral thinking comes from his own self-coaching to stay humble and continue to evolve as the music game changes.
“The moment you get super hot, you start to get super lazy,” he said. “It’s really one solution: don’t ever think you bigger than the music. God gave you a talent. Don’t neglect it and abuse it, and stay true to who you are. Stay grounded.”
Having such a high devoir for traditional thought processes and creativity in making music as a seasoned producer, Timbo still values the simpler things — even when it comes to what he wants for Christmas this year.
“It’s not about buying material stuff because I’m starting to realize I have brought so much stuff and I’m like, ‘Yo, you just let it sit. So that’s just a waste of money,’” he admitted. “Sometimes I like the simple things. To be honest, just little things that show you pay attention to my habits, those are things. If I wear slippers, buy me some new slippers. You know what I’m saying?”
He added, “We Black. We all was raised a certain way. I don’t care how much money we get, we still kind of do the same habits. And it’s just making stuff more sentimental for me. If it’s buying me another Fruity Loops cereal, it’s something special — just the little things that I wouldn’t think about. If I constantly go sit in the backyard — ‘Okay, let me get this pillow, these chairs, these different little things to put in the backyard where he sit at.’ It’s the fact that you pay attention that I sit and do certain things.”
“Those are things that matter the most. All the other stuff is just material stuff. If you buy 10 cars, how many cars can you really drive?” he said.
For the accomplished super-producer and father-of-three, the continuation of seeing the fruits of his labor is the true gift. For this holiday season, Timbo will serve as a gift for others alongside Lids as they give lucky winners the opportunity to win free hats for a year.
Until Dec. 24, those interested can enter for a chance to win the generous prize on Lid’s website.
Hear Timbaland’s completed track for the Lids 2022 “Fitted Santa” campaign below.