Timbaland quickly made a name for himself in the late-'90s hip-hop game as not only an inventive producer with an eccentric sense of beat construction but also as one of the most commercially proven producers. This unlikely synthesis of eccentricity and commerciality made him a hot commodity by the end of the '90s as America's top MCs -- Nas, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z -- paid big money for an opportunity to work with him on the occasional track or two. Though his aesthetic was undoubtedly unique, it did show a bit of Southern influence, characterized by a knack for evoking a bounce feel; in addition, other trademark attributes include a shuddering sense of rhythm and a tendency to subtly integrate his deep voice into the background of his songs. Overall though, Timbaland was the first of a new generation of producers also including Swizz Beatz that crafted infectious hip-hop beats without relying on samples.Of course, Timbaland's beginnings were a bit humble at first; born Tim Mosley, he originally was a part of a duo also including the rapper Magoo, with whom he later recorded Welcome to Our World (1997). Before that album hit the streets though, Timbaland's first success came via his collaborations with another rapper/songwriter, Missy Elliott. The two were critical to the astounding success of Aaliyah's One in a Million (1996) and Ginuwine's Ginuwine...The Bachelor (1996), foreshadowing the similar success the duo would achieve on Elliott's debut album, Supa Dupa Fly (1997). After Timbaland's album with Magoo and also his 1998 solo album, Tim's Bio, failed to storm up the charts like his production work, it became clear that Timbaland worked best as a behind-the-scenes producer. By the end of the '90s he was one of the priciest producers in rap -- a bill rappers were lined up to pay, given his proven commercial clout.
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