Last summer Timbaland revealed he had been tapped to produce a new posthumous Michael Jackson album.
The Grammy award-winning producer and rapper didn’t offer many details, except the project was being helmed by Epic Records head L.A. Reid and that he had “a lot of unreleased” material to work with.
As part of his Timbaland Thursday series of free tunes, the producer unleashed a snippet of a remixed version of “Slave to the Rhythm.”
A version of the previously unreleased track surfaced last year featuring Justin Bieber trading verses with the late King of Pop over a pulsating, and generic, Europop beat. It was mostly scrubbed from the Internet.
The snippet leaked by Timbaland is questionable. It opens with a jarring and clunky percussion arrangement and his hallmark futuristic effects before Jackson drops in with the hook.
Though somewhat unfair to judge the track based off of a minute-long sample, it’s hard to be excited about the rest of the track judging from what we heard.
“You have to be a true Michael Jackson fan to appreciate what I’m about to do,” Timbaland said in the interview announcing the project.
Timbaland has been a go-to hitmaker since the ‘90s after groundbreaking work with Missy Elliott and the late Aaliyah put him on the map. He’s crafted hits for a who’s who of music including Janet Jackson, Usher, Nas, Eminem, Nelly Furtado, Brandy, Ludacris, Jennifer Lopez, Jamie Foxx, M.I.A., OneRepublic, Chris Brown, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake and Jay Z.
Last year he produced and co-wrote multiple tracks on a handful of the year’s biggest selling albums, including Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience -- The Complete Experience,” Jay Z’s “Magna Carta Holy Grail” and Beyoncé’s self-titled surprise album.
His producing chops are undeniable, but given Timbaland’s pedigree we’re hoping the rest of the project sounds better than this preview -- especially considering the last posthumous Jackson album didn’t go over so well.
Listen to the snippet below: