Producer: Rick Rubin
Yes, this list is meant to pay tribute to and appreciate Justin Timberlake's body of work. Of course, you can't talk about JT without talking about the incredible backdrops provided to him by Timbaland and Danja, and to a lesser extent, The Neptunes. All of them are game-changing artists, but Rick Rubin is the definition of a living legend.
We're not just saying that because he made classics with LL Cool J and Run-D.M.C. but because he then went on to make classics with everyone from Slayer to Johnny Cash to the Dixie Chicks. Who, we ask, WHO has a catalog that compares to that?
So when he hit the studio with JT, magic happened and Timberlake wound up with one of the best ballads of his career. Unlike on the rest of the album, Timberlake took the time to sit down and write the lyrics for this song, which may explain why they're so compassionate. His asking for forgiveness is quite dissonant from his bravado on "Cry Me A River." —Insanul Ahmed