Born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia, super-producer Timbaland (real name Timothy Mosley) is most known for his collaborative work with Missy Elliot, Aaliyah and Justin Timberlake. However, he has made an unfathomable amount of solo material over the years.
As well as solo material during the late 1990s and early ’00s, Timbaland released a plethora of hip-hop records as part of the rap duo Timbaland & Magoo, comprised of himself and fellow Virginia rapper Melvin “Magoo” Barcliff.
With the ability to easily churn out unique and epic instrumentals by the turn of the millennium, alongside beatmakers such as Pharrell and Swizz Betaz, Timbaland was one of the most in-demand producers in hip-hop. With his distinct sound utilising bongos, djembes, triangles and African sounds, Mosley’s beats had an unparalleled dynamism.
As such, by 2001, he was working with the likes of Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg and others as one of the most prevalent musicians in the industry. With his music being valued to such a degree, Timbaland was charging a hefty fee for his instrumentals and, in an interview with ProducerGrind, revealed he was earning as much as $500,000 for a single track.
Speaking about how he arose before the age of sending random beats to various artists, Mosley explained, “I usually get like $300, $500K back in the day. We ain’t come from a world where you send beats; we come from when that bitch was tailor-made, you understand?”
He continued to highlight how producers are no longer respected and disclosed that in his heyday, “The producer was respected way more. You needed a dope producer as an artist. You needed that, and now you got YouTube. People putting beats. It’s just not the same. It’s just like Wild Wild West out there.” For artists such as Jay-Z, Mosley admitted he created custom instrumentals for over half a million dollars. However, even the best beatmaker in hip-hop today would struggle to charge that kind of money for one track.
You can hear Timbo speaking about how he sold beats in the video below.