Timbaland & Magoo Make A 'Proposal'
Timing is everything when it comes to releasing a record. Just ask Timbaland & Magoo, whose Blackground/Virgin sophomore project, "Indecent Proposal," is now set for a Nov. 20 release after a longTiming is everything when it comes to releasing a record. Just ask Timbaland & Magoo, whose Blackground/Virgin sophomore project, "Indecent Proposal," is now set for a Nov. 20 release after a long delay. "I turned [the album] in a year-and-a-half ago, and it's just [now] coming out," a frustrated Timbaland says. "And now we're in a recession -- it doesn't make sense."
The delay was partially due to Blackground changing parent labels, Magoo adds. "It wasn't a matter of us not wanting to go back into the studio," he says. "Our label was leaving Atlantic at the time, and it took a while for them to do that."
The hiatus proved to be a positive period for both MCs. Timbaland expanded his resume, producing hits for Aaliyah, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, Bubba Sparxxx, and Petey Pablo, among others. He also established Interscope imprint Beat Club, home to Sparxxx. But, discouraged by the delay of "Indecent," Timbaland says the CD will be his last as an artist.
For Magoo, who found himself grappling with newfound fame after the duo's first disc, "Welcome to Our World," the time off provided clarity. "When you get a little bit of success, it's overwhelming in the beginning," Magoo explains. "For me, [the time off] was therapeutic. I had to get used to the business, understanding how it works and how the money is made."
Working with renewed focus, the duo crafted "Indecent Proposal," a 15-track set featuring guest appearances by Aaliyah, Ludacris, Jay-Z, and Tweet, among others. Magoo credits Timbaland with matching artists to its tracks. "He has an idea of what direction each song should go in," Magoo says. "It has a lot to do with the concept and who can come up with a good flow for that particular track-it has to be complementary."
Prior to interviewing Timbaland, Billboard asked Magoo whether a solo project is in his future. "I've never seriously thought about doing a solo album," he replied. "I've thought about it in passing-like if Tim decided he wanted to stop rapping. It would be really difficult for me to think about doing a record without him. We've been together since 1990, so [being solo] would be weird. Tim and Magoo is more a friendship than it is a group."
Although the two have been together for 11 years, that hypothetical solo project may become a reality for Magoo. "My first love is producing," Timbaland explains. "I just didn't have the control that I wanted [with this album]. I wasn't able to oversee things the way I would have liked to in terms of release dates, etc."
Also prior to the interview with Timbaland, Billboard spoke with Blackground president Jomo Hankerson about the delayed project. "Tim is usually two years ahead of the curve," Hankerson says. "So even if you have some tracks that were done a year ago, this album is still really hot. He really took his time with it."
"When you're lining up artists like Petey Pablo and Jay-Z, it takes time to do that kind of album," Hankerson adds. "Once you get that album in the can, you want to roll it out and take the best care of it that you can as a label."
When asked to respond to Timbaland's disdain regarding the delay of "Indecent Proposal," Hankerson says, "We've gone through our ups and downs, but we're plodding ahead full-steam with this project. I'm confident that he's given me an album that I can go five or six singles deep with, and this is what we do in the music business."