Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience album review

After seven long years of musical hiatus, Justin Timberlake has finally released his highly anticipated album The 20/20 Experience. The question is was it worth the wait?

The title of Timberlake’s album perfectly translates into every track as he creates music that you can so clearly and vividly see. The concept is very similar to N.E.R.D.’s Seeing Sounds album. With this concept in mind, Timberlake masterfully offers a variety of songs each possessing its own special flavor in sound.

Throughout the entirety of the album, Timberlake succeeds in showcasing his trademark falsetto. It’s undeniably sexy, entirely soothing in unimaginable ways and so perfectly tender in tone. The 20/20 experience, which has an average of seven minutes per song, risks the chances of losing the attention of an audience, but surprisingly it actually works out nicely. Every aspect of each song flows so seamlessly. The tracks have the power to seduce you with exotically intricate beats, love infested lyrics, and vocal acrobatics that ultimately lead to forgetting about how lengthy the songs actually are.

“Strawberry Bubblegum” is so ethereal in sound as it is emphasized by the guitar and keyboards. The opening dedication “Hey Pretty Lady… this goes out to you, you, you” is very reminiscent to Usher’s opening of “SuperStar”on his Confessions album. The airy sounds match Timberlake’s falsetto as he sings of the intoxicating feeling he captured when he caught his lover’s eyes, calling her his “little strawberry bubblegum.” His delivery is quite cleverly done. He intermixes between falsetto, his speaking voice, and his mid-range singing voice as he describes her as nothing that he has ever seen before. While noting, “Don’t change nothing because your flavor is so original,” he sings the notes in a sweet staccato that draws you in completely.

“Don’t Hold The Wall” has a very tribal/tropically inspired beat as mastermind producer Timbaland is heard saying “Dance, Don’t Hold The Wall” in the background. It’s a perfect dance-pop song that will get you up on your feet and will hypnotize you into dancing without holding the wall.

“Tunnel Vision” another song with an apparent Timbaland influence, has a very chillingly breezy classic pop vibe as Timberlake admits to having “tunnel vision” for one special girl (ahem, Jessica Biel maybe?). He expresses his undeniable love singing “A million people around, all I see is you.” Aw, how sweet, he’s sure to break millions of girls’ hearts on this one. Well, of course, he melts the heart of one particular special lady.

In “That Girl,” Timberlake re-emphasizes the same theme of love for one specific girl, but this time in a very bluesy/jazzy feel of sound. Alternatively, Timberlake gives us another dance-pop song “Let The Groove Get In,” but this time it has noticeable Latin influences. It’s a song that will either make you want to take some salsa dance lessons or just simply shake what your mama gave you!

“Mirrors” is a timeless classic pop track that is sure to get a lot of radio play once the phase of “Suit & Tie” is over. “Mirrors” is another dedication to the love of his life describing his lover’s shine to the shine of a mirror. In the chorus, he beautifully sings how he sees them together as “two reflections into one, cause its like you’re my mirror, my mirror staring back at me.”

The question still remains was this album worth the wait? I definitely think so. It’s by far his best album to date. It’s an album that shows his musical growth and maturity as he explores new sounds, tightens his writing skills, and embraces his colorful vocal ability.

Fugees Wyclef Jean

Grammy® Winning WYCLEF JEAN To Release Explosive New 13 Song EP: “FROM THE HUT TO THE PROJECTS TO THE MANSION” On November 10! Iconic Wyclef Jean Is Toussaint St. Jean — Featuring DJ Drama, Eve, Cyndi Lauper, Timbaland, and others!

Grammy® Winning WYCLEF JEAN To Release Explosive New 13 Song EP: “FROM THE HUT TO THE PROJECTS TO THE MANSION” On November 10! Iconic Wyclef Jean Is Toussaint St. Jean — Featuring DJ Drama, Eve, Cyndi Lauper, Timbaland, and others!

“I’m not sugar-coating anything with this EP. It’s spontaneous, yet has a backstory concept that is fresh and challenging.” – Wyclef

October 13, 2009 – Wyclef is hip-hop’s cultural ambassador. Not only is he a music legend, but his humanitarian efforts have made him the conscience of music. On November 10, 2009 Wyclef returns to hip-hop with the gritty release of From The Hut To The Projects To The Mansion on Carnival House via Megaforce/Sony Music.

Wyclef is a great American success story of an artist that came from Haiti to rise above all obstacles. He found success with The Fugees and numerous solo efforts, selling over 30 million albums worldwide and he was recently featured on 60 Minutes® about his efforts to help Haiti.

Wyclef is also one of the hottest music producers working with every major artist from Shakira to Santana. His 2007 written and produced “Hips Don’t Lie” featuring Shakira, was a # 1 hit around the world, further expanding his utopian multi-cultural appeal.

The people react to Wyclef like no other artist. His inextricable relationship with fans is unprecedented. In a matter of a few months, Wyclef’s Twitter following was over 1 million — in a sense, his fans are considered an extension of him.

Wyclef now returns with this brilliant hip-hop EP with all new material collaborating with DJ Drama. It’s the concept mixtape he has wanted to make and features a gritty, yet melodic effort with some amazing guests such as Eve, Timbaland, Maino, Cyndi Lauper, and others.

“I wanted to do this release with Megaforce/Red as I want to hi my hip hop can college fanbase and who better to do that than an indie label/distributor,” says Wyclef.

Toussaint St. Jean, the title character of Wyclef’s new EP, is a persona suggested to Wyclef by his friend and collaborator T.I. The character Toussaint is loosely based on the 18th-century Haitian revolutionary hero, Toussaint L’Ouverture, a figure who brought Haiti to significance on the international stage.

Inhabiting the role of Toussaint on these songs, Wyclef recreates himself in the spirit of a noble fighter, a man who says exactly what is on his mind. Toussaint’s rhymes hit hard, in a “militant style,” and make his words felt – and remembered.

And so what is the difference between Wyclef and Toussaint? “Toussaint is more direct,” Wyclef says. “He ain’t going to sugarcoat nothing. Whatever he’s thinking, he’s going to tell you. It’s like, I’ve still got this machete – my tongue is sharper than it’s ever been.” To help create suitable musical settings for the grisly tales Toussaint has to tell, Wyclef turned to DJ Drama, who has worked extensively with T.I. “I asked myself, ‘Who’s the toughest guy out there?’” Wyclef says. “Then I said, well, DJ Drama is pretty badass. So I called him and asked if he’d be interested in doing a mixtape. He heard what I was up to and he said, ‘We gotta do a book – this is a novel!’ He got excited, and it became more like an EP than a mixtape.

The track that best captures the feelings that motivate Toussaint St. Jean is the intensely dramatic “The Streets Pronounce Me Dead,” a chronicle of Wyclef witnessing his own metaphoric funeral. It’s a commentary on Wyclef’s sense of himself as a forgotten man on the hip-hop scene, despite the groundbreaking impact of his former group, the Fugees, whose 1996 album “The Score” is the best-selling hip-hop album of all time, with sales of nearly twenty million copies worldwide . The song cites the flood of younger rappers – Akon, Lil Jon, Kanye West, among them — who have risen up as Wyclef has gone onto prominence as a solo artist and producer for the likes of Shakira, Mick Jagger, Bono and John Legend.

Tracks like “Warriorz,” “Letter From the Penn” and “Toussaint vs. Bishop” paint riveting pictures, “hood stories,” as Wyclef describes them, of street life and its consequences. The gripping storytelling in those songs recalls the raw environments in Haiti and Brooklyn from which Wyclef emerged – “from the hut to the projects to the mansion,” as he memorably puts it in “Slumdog Millionaire.” It’s a story arc that these songs make compelling.

Wyclef views the message of “Toussaint St. Jean” as “not everything that appears bad is really bad, because the real bad men move in silence. So be careful what you emulate, because it’s could get you six feet deep. If you don’t see me with a gun, it doesn’t mean that the guy with the gun is badder than me. I’ve been in those communities, but you’ve got to rise past that world.”

And, as always with Wyclef, there’s more to the story than meets the eye. “Toussaint St. Jean” represents just the first step on the road to another album he intends to release in 2010 titled simply “wyclefjean.” The album will reflect a three-dimensional portrait of an artist for whom the gritty sagas of Toussaint St. Jean are just one part.

Wyclef Jean remains signed to Columbia Records/Sony Music and is set to release his self-titled LP “Wyclef Jean” in Spring 2010.

Song List:

1. Interlude – From The Hut, To The Projects, To The Mansion

2. Warrior’s Anthem

3. The Streets Pronounce Me Dead

4. Slumdog Millionaire feat. Cyndi Lauper aka Luscious Loo

5. Interlude – Every Now & Then

6. Walk Away

7. More Bottles feat. Timbaland

8. You Don’t Wanna Go Outside

9. Toussaint vs. Bishop

10. Interlude – The Struggle

11. We Made It

12. Suicide Love feat. Eve

13. Letter From The Penn

14. Robotic Love

15. Gangsta Girl

16. Interlude – Tell The Kids The Truth

17. The Shottas


Top 5 Hip-Hop Producers in the Game Today

Singers and rappers may get all the love on-stage, but having a good producer on your hip-hop track or slow jam can jack up your chances of a gold single better than any front-page sob story… unless you’re Rihanna. The evolution of the way songs are made and marketed is earning the people behind the beats some well-deserved attention. With services that’ll set you back upwards of a hundred grand per song, there’s a good reason these five producers are still in business.

Bryan-Michael Cox

Getting his big break thanks to earlier connections with Jermaine Dupri and Beyoncé, B. Cox is one of those producers who regularly see their songs catch fire. Having cemented himself firmly in the hip-hop industry based on wildly successful partnerships with artists like Usher (“U Got It Bad,” “Burn,” “Confessions Pt I & II”) and Mary J. Blige (“Be Without You”), there is no shortage of work for this Miami-born, Houston-bred producer. He’s won Grammys for both producing and songwriting, and with new R&B artists such as Sterling Simms and Johnta Austin scrambling to get a piece of him (along with a shot at that hit single), Bryan-Michael Cox might just take over the spot of lead money-maker for So So Def.

The Neptunes

The Neptunes, aka. Pharrell and Chad Hugo, aka. two-thirds of N.E.R.D., is one heavyweight duo. Their productions are shoved tentatively under the hip-hop genre, but it’s definitely a different kind of hip-hop; there’s a little eccentric flavour that most other producers don’t embrace as fully and satisfyingly as the Neptunes. It might be the synths, it might be their funk, or it might be Pharrell’s falsetto, but really, who cares? The Neptunes pretty much made Justin Timberlake when he broke off from NSync, and their reputation for offering something more than your typical gangsta rap has earned them love from Jay-Z, Common, and even Madonna. The coolest Star Trek geeks around? Oh yeah.


Possibly the biggest production duo outside of North America, Stargate hails from Norway, and has been churning out hits in Europe since way before Ne-Yo. Originally working almost exclusively within the pop genre, Mikkel Eriksen and Tor Erik Hermansen made massive headway into the States’s R&B market after “So Sick.” While they’ve received some criticism for allegedly reusing material, it doesn’t seem to be a problem, as a Stargate track seems to be a guaranteed hit either way. Just ask Rihanna, Beyoncé, Ne-Yo, and Lionel Richie (who got his first number one in ten years thanks to Stargate). It would be interesting to see if this team decides to break into hip-hop, a genre that might be more resistant to their Euro-pop sound, but seeing as how they’ve already worked with rappers like Flo Rida and Nas and have a joint record label with Jay-Z, they might just have a chance at taking over all of urban music.

Kanye West

Who knew? The Louis Vuitton Don may talk annoyingly big sometimes (okay, all the time), but thankfully, he has shown that he can back it up. Using samples that span an impressive range of genres and time periods in the history of music, Kanye’s flair for the eclectic is almost comparable to the Neptunes, except Pharrell and Co.’s sound is much more defined and recognizable. His favourite collaborators include Talib Kweli, Nas, Jay-Z (he’s producing almost all of the soon-to-be-released Blueprint 3), and of course, himself. Ego problems aside though, Kanye West has a knack for knowing not only what people like to hear, but more importantly (judging from his timely collab with Jay-Z, “Death of Autotune”), when they get tired of it.


Undisputed hip-hop royalty, Timothy Mosley, or as you know him, Timbaland, rose through the ranks of hip-hop together with Missy Elliott, Ginuwine, and the late Aaliyah in the nineties. It’s safe to say that everyone who’s anyone – or wants to be anyone – has worked with Timbo; his efficiency with the beats and willingness to experiment with new sounds has not only helped hip-hop evolve, but also completely changed the pop genre, luring it effortlessly into the R&B/hip-hop sound. He’s ventured into uncharted territory with M.I.A., Duran Duran, and Bjork, but has always returned home to hip-hop, where his roots are firmly established. Apart from artists who are “heavyweights” in their own right (like Jay-Z, Missy, Beyoncé, and Luda), you’re more likely to hear the DJ introduce a Mosley Music collaboration as a “Timbaland track” rather than an <insert artist name here> track. While it is slightly disappointing that Timbaland is expanding his list of references all the way out to bubblegum-pop land (the Jonas Brothers? really?), there is no doubt that his touch is literally gold.

Flo Rida Timbaland Videos

Flo Rida – Elevator (Featuring Timbaland) video

Flo Rida – Elevator (Featuring Timbaland) video

Keri Hilson Timbaland Videos

Timbaland – Scream video featuring Nicole Scherzinger and Keri Hilson

Timbaland – Scream video featuring Nicole Scherzinger and Keri Hilson

50 cent Timbaland Videos

50 Cent featuring Justin Timberlake – Ayo Technology video

50 Cent featuring Justin Timberlake – “Ayo Technology” video produced by Timbaland

Keri Hilson Timbaland Videos

Timbaland – The Way I Are video

Timbaland featuring Keri Hilson – The Way I Are music video