Timbaland said during AFROTECH Conference 2023, his career as a producer wouldn’t have been possible without fellow rap icon Missy Elliott.

The four-time Grammy winner revealed his love for music started as a kid, and he did not envision becoming a producer. Instead, he hoped to become a DJ.

“My dream was to be an aspiring DJ, not an aspiring producer, because I looked up to Kid Capri, Ron G, and I always was a guy who was fascinated with sounds,” Timbaland said on Nov. 2 during his session, “From Producer to Founder.” “Soon as I wake up in the morning, when you hear the birds and this nature, what God give us, that sounds like music to me, and I always heard rhythm, didn’t know what it was… at that time, I didn’t know what I was feeling and I was always driven to music.”

Robin L Marshall

Timbaland then recalls a time when he claims the music industry “wasn’t good.” That was his launch pad to start making his own beats and mixing his own records using a Casio keyboard gifted to him by his mom.

“So my mom got me this Casio keyboard, which only had like a one-second sampler, and I’m like, ‘Well, what can I sample in one second?’ So what I did is [I] got creative, sped up the beat, the music, or what I was trying to sample real fast, plus put it on 45 and go to the end of the keyboard and slow down. So, I would take time and stretch it,” he explained from AFROTECH’s Innovation Stage.

It wasn’t until his talent was recognized by Missy Elliott that Timbaland realized he had a gift and a career path.

“Once I found that I could do that, and it worked, then came along, you know, Magoo, he was always around as my friend, but not rapping, but he introduced me to the one who really started me and said I had a gift. [It] was Missy Elliott,” Timbaland expressed.

He continued, “So if it wasn’t for Missy, I probably wouldn’t be Timbaland today. She was the one that said, ‘Yo, you have a gift. Your sound is unique’ when I thought my sound was trash, but she thought it was unique and she pushed me to go super hard. And that’s when I knew that I wanted to be a producer.”

If this year’s AFROTECH Conference was out of this world, AFROTECH24 will be even better!

Lock in your early-bird ticket now for next year’s event, Nov. 13-16, 2024, in Houston, TX.


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