Timbaland: Greatest Pop Producer of the Last 10 Years? (96-Present Division)
People have perpetually been predicting Tim’s falling off since 1998 (cf. Simon Reynolds, et al only a year after his ascendancy — even yours truly was ready to pull an Et Tu in late 99.) But in putting together the third volume in my ongoing Tim’s Greatest Beats CD-R project, his CV over the last six-seven seems pretty fucking tight to me. Here’s the track listing:

Vol. 1
1. Aaliyah — Are You That Somebody?
2. Tim & Magoo — Clock Strikes 12
3. Ginuwine — Pony (Remix)
4. Aaliyah — Hot Like Fire
5. Ludacris — Fat Rabbit
6. Aaliyah — Try Again
7. Ginuwine — (Actually I forget which song I put on here.)
8. Tim & Magoo — Up Jumps Da Boogie
9. Tim & Magoo feat. Jay-Z — Lobster & Scrimp
10. Jay-Z — Nigga What, Nigga Who (Instrumental)
11. Aaliyah — One In A Million

Vol. 2
1. Missy — She’s A Bitch
2. The Lox — Ride or Die Chick
3. Ginuwine — Final Warning
4. Jay-Z — Snoopy Track
5. Memphis Bleek — Is That Yo Chick?
6. Missy — Hit Em Wit Da Hee (Remix)
7. Jay-Z — Big Pimpin
8. Nas — You Owe Me
9. Total — What the Dealio?
10. Tim & Magoo — Love To Love You
11. Playa — Don’t Stop The Music
12. Aaliyah — 4 Page Letter

Vol. 3
1. Bubba Sparxx — Twerk A Little
2. Jay-Z — Hola Hovito
3. Ludacris — Roll Out
4. Missy — Whatcha Gonna Do?
5. Bubba Sparxx — Bubba Talk
6. Tweet — Oops
7. Missy — Supa Dupa Fly
8. Jay-Z — Can I Get A? (I forget whether he actually produced this one or not, but I’m gonna say yes.)
9. Missy — Get Ur Freak On
10. Tim & Mag — Indian Carpet
11. Aaliyah — More Than A Woman

The story of the hiphop producer, however, is an inability to freely move around in a world they remake completely: The Bomb Squad, Marley Marl, hell, even The Sugarhill House Band. And even when they do remain artistically (if not always commercially) viable (Premier, Dre against all odds, the 45 King), their ‘wins’ are almost always strikes against the status quo, Oedipal battles against their odd, mutant children. With the Neptunes continuing (rock)slide into (artistic) irrelevance (which I attribute to their fetishization of the unadorned kick-thump of dancehall, which was always Tim’s secret weapon as well, making the drum & bass intimations the biggest red herring in pop between 98-00) and his ‘innovations’ still being seized upon by hiphop and R&B at large (coughcough Bollywood obsession), he’s still (nominally) on top of his game, but for how long?