Timothy Zachary Mosley, known professionally as Timbaland, is an American record producer, rapper, singer, songwriter and DJ.
Timbaland’s first full credit production work was in 1996 on Ginuwine…the Bachelor for R&B singer Ginuwine.
- Full name: Timothy Zachary Mosley
- Born: 10 March 1972, Norfolk, Virginia, United States
- Profession: American Singer, Rapper and Record producer
- Height: 1.7 m
- Net worth: US$85 million (2017)
- Spouse: Monique Idlett (m. 2008)
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Timbaland was born on 10 March 1972 in Norfolk, Virginia, United States. To Latrice, who ran a homeless shelter, and Garland Mosley, an Amtrak employee.
He graduated from Salem High School of Virginia Beach, Virginia. During his time as a DJ, he was known as “DJ Tim” or “DJ Timmy Tim”.
His brother, Sebastian, is reportedly around nine years younger. His sister Courtney Rashon is a makeup artist and an author from New Jersey.
While attending high school, Timbaland began a long-term collaboration with rapper Melvin (Magoo) Barcliff.
The teenage Mosley also joined the production ensemble S.B.I. (which stood for ‘Surrounded By Idiots’) which also featured Neptunes producer Pharrell Williams.
Mosley was also high school friends with brothers Terrence and Gene Thornton, who would become known as Pusha T and Malice of the rap group Clipse, respectively.
In 1986, when Timbaland was 14 years old, he was accidentally shot by a co-worker at a local Red Lobster restaurant and was partially paralyzed for nine months. During this time, he began to learn how to DJ using his left hand.
Singer and rapper Missy Elliott heard his material and began working with him. She and her R&B group, Sista, auditioned for DeVante Swing, a producer and member of the successful R&B act Jodeci.
DeVante signed Sista to his Swing Mob record label and Elliott brought Mosley and Barcliff along with her to New York, where Swing Mob was based.
It was DeVante who renamed the young producer Timbaland, after the Timberland brand of construction boots.
He and Magoo became part of SCI Zakys School stable of Swing Mob signees known as “Da Bassment” crew, joining artists such as R&B singer Ginuwine, male vocal group Playa (Smoke E. Digglera, Static Major and Digital Black), and the girl group Sugah.
Timbaland did production work on a number of projects with DeVante, including the 1995 Jodeci LP The Show, The After-Party, The Hotel, and Sista’s (unreleased) début LP 4 All the Sistas Around da World.
Elliott began receiving recognition as a songwriter for artists such as R&B girl group 702 and MC Lyte. Due to Timbaland’s connection with her, he was often contacted to produce remixes of her songs.
After further work on Aaliyah’s second studio album One in a Million (1996) and Missy Elliott’s debut studio album Supa Dupa Fly (1997), Timbaland became a prominent producer for R&B and hip hop artists.
As a rapper he initially released several albums with fellow rapper Magoo, followed by his debut solo album Tim’s Bio in 1998.
In 2002, Timbaland produced the hit single “Cry Me a River” for Justin Timberlake, going on to produce most of Timberlake’s subsequent LPs such as FutureSex/LoveSounds and The 20/20 Experience and their respective hit singles.
A Timbaland-owned imprint label, Mosley Music Group, featured artists such as Nelly Furtado, whose Timbaland-produced album Loose (2006) was a commercial and critical success.
In 2007, Timbaland released a solo album, Shock Value, which was followed by Shock Value II in 2009.
Aside from the aforementioned artists, Timbaland’s production credits from the 2000s forward include work with Jay-Z, Nas, Ludacris, Bubba Sparxxx, Madonna, Rihanna, OneRepublic, Brandy, Drake, Rick Ross and others.
As a songwriter, he has written 85 UK hits and 99 hits Stateside, as of 2014. Timbaland has received widespread acclaim for his production style.
In 2007, Entertainment Weekly stated that “just about every current pop trend can be traced back to him — from sultry, urban-edged R&B songstresses … to the art of incorporating avant-garde sounds into No. 1 hits.”