Timbaland got his start in Jodeci mastermind DeVante Swing’s musical collective Swing Mob, which was essentially a boot camp for up-and-coming hip-hop and R&B singers, writers & producers. There he would meet future collaborators Ginuwine, Missy Elliott, Magoo, Tweet and more.

When the collective dissolved in 1995, reportedly due to money issues, Timbaland didn’t lose any sleep, getting to work on albums for Ginuwine, Missy, and Aaliyah that are now revered as classics. It wasn’t long before radio took notice, and his partnerships with songwriters like Missy and Playa member Static Major reaped an ineffable string of hits that would have hip-hop artists and pop stars alike clamoring for beats.

Tim’s methods were unorthodox, and his sound was inimitable. It always felt ahead of its time; he was rolling EDM sounds into rap and R&B production five years before it was cool, and his ear for international sounds went a long way in bridging the gap between hip-hop and Eastern music. Moreso than a producer, Tim was a cultivator of talent, building careers for proteges even as he crafted songs for industry heavyweights. His 1996 to 2007 stream of hits is especially legendary, and he's resurrected his profile with Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience.

These are The 50 Best Timbaland Beats.

Written by Craig Jenkins (@CraigSJ)

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