Volume 92, Issue 56

Thursday, January, 1999

in the books


Williams' doc dies

TQ drives while Timbaland's effort crashes

The script is in the mail

TQ drives while Timbaland's effort crashes

They Never Saw Me Coming

Boxing Terrence "TQ" Quaites into a clear-cut musical comparison is a maddening task. Not everyone can build an R&B peanut butter sandwich the way he does, with his mixture of creamy Usher harmonies coating the underlying rough and brittle Ice Cube/Tupac stylings.

The best thing about TQ is he is seemingly unaffected by the "player" lifestyle so many of today's rappers get mired in, instead choosing topics common to the working class. It's refreshing to listen to someone who cares more about picking up easy women and good weed than the acquisition of a Lexus, a Rolex and a big ass Bad Boy-esque powerboat (remember that lame Hypnotized video?).

The first single, "Westside," a ballad about living and dying in L.A., is the only single which has received any real air play. Yet despite its infectious harmony, it isn't the best track on the album. "What if the World Was Mine," in its quest to link the separate groups of the world by sharing communal weed, includes a smooth parody of the "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" jingle, free of schmaltzy hypocrisy.

As well, the title track "They Never Saw Me Coming" bespeaks his real life of a medium-budget player lifestyle, where he probably flashed shiny Casios and performed drive-bys in bottle-green Oldsmobiles.

However, this is not to say TQ is completely past the point of improvement, for some of the tracks should have gone straight from the studio recordings to the editing bin. For example, most of the interludes which clutter up the album are mindless prattle punctuated by obviously fake sound effects and pointless stupidity. The result is a series of infected and plagued tracks like "When I Get Out" and "Your Sister."

However, with producer Mike Mosely (who worked successfully with E-40 and Tupac) in his corner, as well as rappers like Too Short and Kurupt watching his back, TQ seems to be on the right path.

Tim's Bio: From the Motion Picture: Life From The Bassment

Sad. Just... sad.

It's unimaginable to think of how unfair it is to be a producer/rapper like Tim "Timbaland" Mosely. He has the ability to effortlessly churn out hit after hit for other artists, but has never been able to put that magic to work for himself.

Such a situation would be impossible to deal with, assuming, that is, one could recognize the lack of substance on their own album. This is where Timbaland's saving grace kicks in, as it's unclear whether he knows just how pathetic his tracks look in comparison to his work for others. Apparently, none of his loyal subjects have let the emperor in on the status of his new wardrobe.

Excluding a few excerpts from this debut, Timbaland's strength lies in his selection of cuts, clever editing and the occasional throaty "uh-huh, uh-huh" thrown in. Rapping is just not his forte, as evidenced by his lame kindergarten-like rhymes which pop up everywhere on the album.

The verse "He said this/And he said that/And he said that Timbaland can't rap/But I don't care/Because I make dope tracks/I'll make you bounce and wiggle/And do dis an' dat" from the Spiderman theme-sampled "Here We Come" is one example of Timbaland trying pathetically to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Timbaland does, however, realize a stellar supporting cast can bring up the calibre of any sagging production and surrounds himself with the regulars – Missy Elliott, Aaliyah and Ginuwine, as well as powerfully potent rhymers such as Nas and Twista. The Jay-Z collaboration track, "Lobster and Scrimp" is the best on the album melding the respective strengths of Jay-Z's volatile vocal stylings with Timbaland's unique samples and off-kilter beats.

On the whole, Life From the Bassment is a passably good album. However, the producer's chair is where Timbaland functions best – and like his colleagues Puff Daddy and Jermaine Dupri, it is where he should stay.


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Copyright The Gazette 1999