Is Justin Timberlake in album mode again already? A recent Instagram he posted in the studio with Nineteen85 and James Fauntleroy sure seems promising. Nineteen85 is the producer who, of course, gave us “Hotline Bling,” “Hold on, We’re Going Home” and a dozen other breezy Drake hits in between, most recently pairing The Boy with none other than Michael Jackson on Scorpion’s “Don’t Matter to Me.” Fauntleroy is a legend in his own right, a singer/songwriter and producer who has written for practically everyone in the industry, including most notably on Timberlake's 20/20 Experience.
The prospect of Timberlake vocals over Nineteen’s particular style of production with Fauntleroy helping on the pen sounds like it could yield some of JT’s best material in years. But during a very recent conversation with Complex, the topic turned to which new music he’s been enjoying, and JT’s comments might hint at whatever is being worked on in that 'gram as being potentially bigger than it seems.
“There’s like two or three tracks on every G.O.O.D. Music release that I really, really am feeling. I love Scorpion, I think it literally just like answered anything. I think The Boy came correct with that one. We’ve talked about [collaborating again] a lot. I don’t wanna say too much because I don’t wanna jinx it, but we’ve talked about it a lot.”
Taken together with the session JT posted, and that Nineteen85 by and large produces mostly for Drake/OVO and Drake-related features, it’s safe to assume talks between Timberlake and Drake may be getting serious. The pair have one collaboration under their belt, 20/20’s highly underrated “Cabaret,” which features Drake blacking out the way he did on pretty much everything he touched in 2013, with an extra long verse that even slid in a Boosie reference.
Timberlake also reminisced on the Magna Carta Holy Grailsessions—that album turns five this week—specifically the night a chance link-up in the studio between himself, JAY-Z, Beyoncé, Nas, Timbaland, Pharrell, and Swizz Beatz led to “BBC.” Which in turn led to him stoking the embers on another hotly anticipated collaboration: Nas, himself, and Hov on the Timbaland-produced “Sinatra in the Sands.”
“There was another idea that Tim had [the night we did 'BBC'] that’s still [in the vaults.] I wrote the hook for it, ‘Sinatra at the Sands,’ and it’s funny because Tim and that’s still kind of sitting around. It’s funny because Tim and I actually texted about that the other day. He sent me an MP3 of it and it still goes.
“That whole album—I don’t know how much JAY had planned but I know that I was there writing for the Beyoncé album with Tim. Then JAY came in and I was finishing up mixing 20/20 as well and then we came up with 'Suit & Tie' while JAY was just hanging. And we were like, this is the way to debut the whole Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Dean Martin, that era. Then the next thing I know, Dream had the topline for 'Holy Grail,' I’d worked on writing some on it and we had that and then the next thing you know JAY, J[Roc] and Tim went to town and Magna Carta was done in two weeks or something. ['BBC'] just was one of those moments that we were all just there and having fun.”
As for finally linking back up with Pharrell on his solo material with Man of the Woods, JT is quick to note that that reunion is just the beginning. “I feel like we just got back together, there’s so much more to do and so many more sounds to explore together.” Between that comment and the recent 'gram session with Nineteen85, it seems like we might get new Timberlake music sooner than later, potential Drake collab notwithstanding.