Earlier this month, Pusha T, the new president of G.O.O.D. Music released a brand new single, "Untouchable," the first since his 2013 album, My Name Is My Name. The brooding banger is not just King Push dropping his usual array of intricately-weaved rhymes, but it's over also over an eerie instrumental produced by Timbaland. It might be one of his illest beats in a while, and felt tailor-made for the darker side of Pusha T's mentality. It got me thinking about another Timbaland beat that, for the life of me, never materialized into a song we can stream and/or purchase.
Let me paint the picture: in a 2006 episode of MTV’s Diary, film crews followed the prolific Timbaland to capture his life behind the scenes. In an early segment of the program, we see Timbaland in the studio, working on some tracks. This was apparently during the time Busta Rhymes was also working on his Aftermath-released LP, The Big Bang (which does feature a collaboration with Timbaland, "Get Down"). Busta was drawn to Timbaland’s studio after hearing a story that 50 Cent told Spliff Star about Timbaland making a beat “with a plastic cup and pencils,” because Timbaland.
Then the magic happens.
Busta gets on the keyboards and start mimicking how Timbaland works on beats (which is pretty hilarious, and highlights how animated Timbaland can be) and finds the “foul 808s” hidden in his database (which is probably why Kanye West called on Tim to beef up “Stronger”). Then, it happens… Bus-a-Bus goes BALLISTIC over some sample that’s hard to fully describe in words; it’s all percussive, sounding like horses marching in time to a group of people smacking all kinds of wooded instruments, clicking and snapping sounds giving it a unique feel. This is the kind of beat that Busta fiends for, hence the giddy, child-like glee that you see when he discovers it.
Timbaland immediately starts looping that sample, throwing the aforementioned foul 808 underneath, and it’s all “WOOOOOOOOOO!” from Busta , who screams, “That’s easy! Just burn that to a CD, and let’s go!” Then comes the “Clap off, come on” chant, and a shot of Busta with a pen and a pad, saying he’ll write as they “add shit” to the beat. Now the question is: WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT INSTRUMENTAL?!?!
Someone on Wikipedia added “Clap Off” to Timbaland’s 2006 production discography on Wikipedia, attributing it to The Big Band (Studio Session), saying it’s “(Unreleased).” And while it might sound like I’m just excited off of a piece of studio beauty that has eluded me, you can do a YouTube search right now for “busta rhymes timbaland clap off” and see remakes to the Nth degree from hungry beatmakers.
I can only hope that Busta actually spit rhymes to this instrumental and that the track is sitting somewhere in a vault. Hell, maybe this can be the spark for Busta or Timbaland’s people to be like, “Well, yeah, that shit does exist” and bless the world (or just me) with a 320 of whatever happened in there. Or it can just live in infamy as one of the greatest hip-hop-related pieces of footage to ever grace MTV.