Timbaland Creates New ‘World-Hop’ Genre on Video Game
For the past four years Timbaland has been busy in the studio collaborating with Rockstar Games on their newest creation — Beaterator. The interactive video game allows users to choose from an archive of beats and sounds to create their own Timbaland-inspired melodies, something the uber-producer emphasizes is a serious application and not a toy.
The busy Timba, fresh off producing Jay-Z‘s blockbuster ‘Blueprint 3′ and finalizing his own upcoming album ‘Shock Value 2,’ took a few minutes to talk to the Boombox at the Beaterator lounge in New York City. Not only did Timbaland share details of the game; he attests that the game’s range of musical options are so solid he could’ve created the ‘Blueprint 3′ on it. But before any gamers out there get too riled up about landing collaborations with Jay-Z or Justin Timberlake, remember that even with Timbaland’s beats at your fingertips, there can only be one Timbaland. Beaterator is already available on Playstation and PSP and will be available on iPhone and iPod Touch starting Sept 29.
The BoomBox: There are a ton of house and rock beats on the game in addition to hip-hop beats. Is this a range that you would use when creating your own music?
Timbaland: I came up with this new slang, I don’t call it hip-hop — I call it “world-hop.” I don’t do just one genre of music; if you look at my whole catalog I do all types of music. I’ve actually started the whole dance music scene that’s going on [in hip-hop] now. So I did what I do on the game. I think people knew that I would have more variety because it’s what I do. The only thing I didn’t do on the game is country music.
TheBoomBox: Did you include beats from your personal archive or did you make them all specifically for the game?
Timbaland: It was a four-year process, so I made a lot of them for the game. There were so many beats! My partners at Rockstar Games also picked what they thought was best — we collaborated. I tried to pick a lot of great ones, but I was working at the same time, so sometimes there might’ve been a beat that could’ve been on the game, but I’d save it for the next go around.
The BoomBox: It took about four years to produce the game, which is longer than it takes to produce some hip-hop albums. On an album you’re putting beats together to produce a full track, but in this case you’re selecting beats so people can do what you do. How does that compare?
Timbaland: Doing a record is too easy. Doing a game is a whole different agenda that I can’t even begin to describe. It’s just not the same as making a beat. Making a beat for a game is cool, but actually creating the game is different. I don’t know the gaming world, so that’s why I partnered with Rockstar. They told me that this was not going to be as easy as making an album. It’s a long process, but it’s a great process. At first I thought, “I’m going to like this, I don’t know what I got myself into but I’m going to like this.” Now I really love the gaming process and I want to make other games besides just beat games. I have other ideas but we’ll take it one step at a time.
The BoomBox: Do you think Beaterator will appeal to people who are serious about producing music or only to amateurs who want to try their hand at production for the first time?
Timbaland: If you’re an amateur, you might think you’re great if you get this game because the sounds are not amateur. They’re sounds that you just won’t find on a keyboard, they’re sounds I actually made. You’ll feel advanced, unless you just can’t make a beat. People might be surprised at the beats you can create, because it sounds so good. Most producers first start off with a keyboard or something like that, but that’s corny to me; they just don’t have that umph that makes people say “wow.” People have to figure out how to create a different umph with this game. Everybody’s going to have an umph if they make a beat on this game, but you have to figure out the effect modes and how to make your beat stand out more.
The BoomBox: Your new album ‘Shock Value 2′ comes out in November. If we took away all of your fancy tools, and said you had to create this album strictly on Beaterator, would the album still be amazing?
Timbaland: I did the first ‘Shock Value’ album with just buckets, cans and spoons. There were no real instruments. I took myself back and said — “What if I couldn’t buy a piece of equipment? How would I make music? How talented am I?” So yeah, I could do everything on Beaterator — I could’ve done the whole Jay-Z record on it. That’s too easy.