Book Review: The life and career of Timbaland, ‘The Emperor of Music’

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The music industry is fickle.  Many artists come and go. Although, every so often comes an artist who manages to defy the odds and return time and time again; still making hits, and still receiving success after success.  For producers, this happens even less frequently than with a vocalist.  Well, DJ Timmy Tim, better known as Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley, certainly defied those odds.

If you have been listening to popular music for the last two decades, you’ve undoubtedly heard his work. You may have even had heard his voice; just not in that Puff Daddy “Take that, take that” or “as we proceed, to give you what you need” corny, unnecessary manner. As a producer, Timbaland has contributed to some of the worlds most talented and prolific acts, while in their prime … in addition to even having his own career as a rapper. The Emperor of Sound takes you through his almost 44 year journey, along with the ups and the downs that made Timothy Mosley the superstar hit making producer-artist-mastermind, Timbaland.

In the book, we learn about all the things that make Timbaland who he is today. How it all began in Virginia, with his Mom playing an important part of his early obsession with music and sounds. Whether he was banging the counter with the spatula, playing with his plastic guitar, or using his Fisher-Price record player, she never heard it as noise.  It also highlights his darkest of times, like being shot as a teenager at his Red Lobster job, resulting in him becoming partially paralyzed – temporarily.

Trying to get into the music industry or curious about what goes into creating hit music? The memoir lets you in on the dark side of the industry as an up and coming artist, including how Timbaland was forced to live when in DeVante Swing’s Da Bassment Cru.  How “Big Pimpin’, ” one of Jay-Z’s signature songs almost didn’t happen. How the instant organic chemistry came about with Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, and Justin Timberlake. Plus countless other run ins with big name music stars like Beyoncé, Madonna, Jimmy Iovine, and Pharrell Williams.

Longtime, hardcore fans of Timbaland will get their fix too. Finally getting to know what happened to earlier acts associated with Timbaland in The Emperor of Sound.  The entire story behind his former Interscope Records imprint Beat Club, and its artists including: Kylie Dean (“Make Me A Song”), Ms. Jade (“Ching Ching”), and Bubba Sparxxx (“Ms. New Booty,” “Ugly”). Sadly, the book doesn’t get into any of the Ginuwine drama that divided the duo over the years. (Side note: they’ve been working together on new materiel for his album) Nor do we learn what Magoo is up to now, or if the Timbaland & Magoo brand will ever make a musical return for a fourth album.

For any fans of Timbaland, fans of Pop/R&B/Hip Hop music over the last 20 years, or even just enjoy the story of someone achieving their set goals and dreams, this book is for you. The Emperor Of Sound lets you into the personal life of Timothy Mosley and professional life of the man we all know by name, Timbaland; facets you don’t get to hear much of from superstars, let alone music producers.  The book lets you in on the insight, tips and tricks one man utilized during the journey of his lifetime. From praying for his own safety and future, to owning his own Empire, in more ways then one, The Emperor of Sound is indeed the story of the American dream.

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