Forget Hip Hop alone – Timothy Mosley can finally add his name to the list of the greatest producers music will ever behold. Arriving onto the scene a decade ago with brilliant scores for his close knit family of Missy Elliott, Ginuwine and the late Aaliyah, he has since elevated through the rankings up to the status of Producer Extraordinaire.
After the outside world took notice of Timbaland, thanks to his imperial work on Justin Timberlake’s first solo outing, Timbaland’s grip on the industry tightened with the 2007 release of Shock Value, an album transcending all genres and confirming Mosley’s status as superstar.
But two years later, can lightning strike twice? Can a sequel further push Timbaland light years ahead of his competition or will the mistake of trying to trap lightning in a bottle shake his steady foundation which has taken over a decade to reach?
Shock Value 2 returns once again to both the clubs and the intimate studio sessions, working with both established superstars and artists in-the-making. Timbaland sets the album off with a safe collaboration with Justin Timberlake on “Carry Out”, bringing back their successful chemistry which launched the latter into the accomplished solo star of today. Apart from his signature grunts and murmurs, one guarantee you can always expect from any Timbaland track is his incredible production merits, mixing heavy beats, claps and sonic effects to create successful Hip Hop pop.
Choosing a favourite beat is always difficult but “Meet In Tha Middle” featuring Bran’Nu (Brandy‘s rap pseudonym) strongly signifies the talents of Mr Mosely. But what many listeners will be undoubtedly drawn to is his pairing with 2009’s breakout star Drake on “Say Something”. A synthesized beat serves well for the duo, however, it is collaborations with such artists which highlight Timbaland’s weakness as an artist. Ignoring the lyrical differences between the two, Timbo’s verse feels lethargic and unnecessary and with his lyrical side being more prominent on this album, it proves to be the real major stumbling block on Shock Value 2.
Nevertheless, one thing we’ve come to learn since his first Shock Value album is his ability to create respectable Hip Hop pop and whilst the Miley Cyrus vocalled “We Belong To The Music” won’t be digested with much appeal by the urbanites, its lovey dovey melodies will result in the saturation the daytime radio slots. Whilst “Morning After Dark” is currently shaking up the clubs, what’s more intriguing is the quality of the tracks which move closer towards the indie rock sound. “Undertow” featuring The Fray and Esthero and “Timothy Where You Been” are remarkable, highlighting the levels which Timbaland has reached, as the depths within these tracks can only be envied by those who wish to be seen as more than just Hip Hop producers.
What’s safe to say is that Shock Value 2 cannot be considered as merely a Hip Hop record. Bearing in mind that an equal share of the album delves into other musical territories, critiquing it from that perspective alone would lead to an unjust review as his deeper exploration into pop and rock delivers on all fronts.
Whilst Timbaland won’t be receiving plaudits for his mic handling, his enduring compositions matched by successful cameos certainly have Timothy looking beyond any Hip Hop accolade but rather having his eye firmly on the number one prize in music history.
Reviewed by Henry Yanney