This week on Idols SA, our hopefuls pay homage to one of the greatest minds in contemporary music. A man who's played an instrumental role in either launching or taking to new heights, the careers of several musos for almost THREE DECADES. We're talking of course, about the incomparable, Timbaland and with a sea of hits under his belt, we thought it would be awesome to spotlight the ones that we feel stand head-and-shoulders above the rest in each decade. Let's dig in.
AALIYAH – 'ARE YOU THAT SOMEBODY?' (DOCTOR DOLITTLE OST)
LISTEN, 'Are You That Somebody?' is quintessential Timbaland production 👌. It also established "baby girl", Aaliyah as a front-runner for the 'Princess of R&B' title! Like all his music, it has also aged like fine wine.
GINUWINE – 'PONY' (Warning, video contains explicit themes) 👀
Speaking of fine wine (😬😬😬), Ginuwine's saucy, tongue-in-cheek banger, 'Pony' remains one of the most recognisable and frequently referenced R&B tracks EVER. It defined the sound of an era and peaked at No. 6 on the Hot 100 Chart despite its very controversial and suggestive lyrics.
USHER – 'YOU MAKE ME WANNA '
All the above considered however, Usher's 'You Make Me Wanna' is easily Timbo's most monumental hit of the 90s and it catapulted a young Usher to levels of super-stardom he hadn't enjoyed prior. Even today, it's still considered one of his finest ballads and after peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard HOT 100 Chart, it's also Timbo's highest charting production of the decade.
Crunch the numbers and it's clear that Timba DOMINATED this decade like no other producer and he composed some of the strongest work of his career in these years. All things considered, we went with a mix of chart success and cultural impact.
3RD PLACE (TIE) (No, we're not cheating 😅)
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE – 'SEXY BACK' –––– TIMBALAND & ONE REPUBLIC – 'APOLOGISE'
Tied at number three is a ballad so prolific it spent HALF of 2008 in the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 & reached No. 1 in 16 countries, the remix of One Republic's 'Apologise'. We still can't get over the crisp percussion and the haunting lilt in Ryan Tedder's voice. 😍
Also sharing the third spot is the biggest No. 1 hit of both Justin Timberlake and Timbo's careers, 'Sexy Back'. It's amazing how this still sounds so futuristic and other-worldy 13 years later. It's little wonder why it was the biggest hit of 2006 spending 6 WEEKS atop the Billboard Hot 100. Now go head be gone wit it!
AALIYAH – 'TRY AGAIN' (ROMEO MUST DIE OST)
Aaliyah's 'Try Again' is, simply put, one of the best Pop songs ever produced. An evergreen gem that never stops sounding fresh and hypnotic no matter how many times you listen to it. It's also the biggest hit of the late star's career, and a No. 1 hit in its own right. The infectious, opening riff also holds a special place in the hearts of Mzansi as it was sampled for SA's most, raunchy and controversial yet widely loved club-banger, 'Sister Bettina'. Then there's the ICONIC music video. Unforgettable in so many ways. 👌
MISSY ELLIOT – 'WORK IT'
🗣️"Ratatata tatatata tata!"🗣️ ... Point us in the direction of ANY song from ANY era that sounds anything like Missy's groundbreaking smash? 'Work It' is one of the best examples of how visionary Timbaland's production is and we are convinced it will eternally sound as funky, fresh and classic as it did the day it came out. In fact, were it not for Eminem's 'Lose Yourself', it would have been Timba's most accomplished work ever. It peaked at number 2 but held that postion for a whopping, 10 WEEKS setting a world record that stands to this day. It also remains Elliot's most recognisable hit and her music video for it (as usual) is pure, creative genuis! (Warning, video contains explicit themes)
This was gruelling so we can't move on without acknowledging some milestones like Jay Z's, 'Big Pimpin' and Timba's first, No. 1 hit , 'Give It To Me' with his biggest collaborators of the decade, Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake. The latter's chart domination in 2006 is also noteworthy with hits like 'Promiscuous', 'Maneater' and the immaculately produced, 'Say It Right' which narrowly missed our list! In fact, we're going to just cheat and slip it in now because it's a masterpiece! 😍
JAY-Z FT. JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE – 'HOLY GRAIL'
Kicking off the list is 'Holy Grail', one of the greatest successes of Jigga's career and their biggest collab together since 'Big Pimpin' slayed the charts in 2000. It peaked at No. 4 on the Hot 100 chart making it one of the highest charting Hip-Hop records of all time.
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE – 'MIRRORS'
In second place, we had to give it to JT's emotional hit, 'Mirrors' which is also the most recent song produced by Timbaland to reign at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart (three weeks consecutely). The music video is also a cinematic masterpiece and still gets us in our feels. 💔
BEYONCE FT. JAY Z – 'DRUNK IN LOVE'
Which leaves the big daddy, Queen Bey's, 'Drunk In Love', arguably the biggest hit of 2014 and easily the most successful off of her ground-breaking, self-titled visual album. It's Beyonce's highest charting debut ever as it shot straight to No.2 where it remained for several weeks (held off the top spot by Katy Perry's 'Dark Horse'). Its cultural impact further makes it the most significant Timbo production of the decade. Don't agree? Just try finding a single Millenial or Gen-Zer who doesn't know what "SURFBOADT" is 😅. It still party-starter and the album it's featured on was a GLOBAL phenomenon that shattered records and conventions like nothing else this decade. That's why this gets our top pick!
So, do you agree with our list or do you think we're crazy for leaving out your faves? Hit us up using #IdolsSA with your own list of faves and don't forget to tune into the show on Sunday at 5pm to see our Idols do justice to Timbaland's finest hits. For now, find out how well they know him in this exclusive
Idols South Africa airs, Sundays at 17:00 on Mzansi Magic Ch161. You can also get an exclusive look at what doesn't make the Live Shows plus, updates on all the action right here on our site. Don't forget to join the conversation by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram