Ad far as music production goes, Timbaland is arguably one of the greatest hiphop producers to ever live.
Most of us know his work from back in the 90s when he produced various hit records for artists like Jay Z, Justin Timberlake and many others.
His early work is certainly impressive…but the most impressive thing is perhaps how Timbaland has managed to stay on top of the game and maintain a high level of relevance to this day.
For music producers, knowing his production secrets is essential for growth which is why I wrote this article surrounding the samples Timbaland uses in order to point you in the right direction.
With that said, What samples does Timbaland use?
Timbaland uses a variety of samples collected from various sources such as Sample packs, vinyl, sound modules, ableton push and popular sounds from drum machines. He is also known for sampling various genres of music as well as loops from various music producers, sample makers and composers to produce his records.
Timbaland Production Style
Timbaland is known for hiphop production but is one producer that is not afraid to switch to other genres like Rn’B.
He is known for his signature bounce which involves beats with hard hitting kicks, heavy bass and catchy melodies that are either created from scratch or ripped from vintage records and sample loops.
Timbaland like any other producer doesn’t rely on the use of the same samples. He’s known to experiment with sounds which is one of the reasons why his beats have a unique effect on the listener.
It is for this reason that a person looking to embody Timbalands style of production has to pay attention to his overall production style rather than the individual samples he uses in order not to miss the point entirely.
The fact is, Timbaland’s style of sampling is spontaneous… and thats the very essential nature of music production.
If you want to get a good feel of his production style, you might want to find his discography and listen to as much as you can…preferably his work spread out over the years
With that said,
Below are some of the sources and some tools that timbaland uses in his production..
One-shot Sample packs
Timbaland is known to use various sounds and samples from a variety of sample packs.
With sample packs you get a lot of sounds that most of the times very genre-specific.
You’ll notice that Timbaland records usually have hard hitting kicks, 808s, percussion and slapping snares. Such sounds can be found on any sample distribution platform such as splice, cymatics, production loops and many others.
Many Timbaland esque sample packs are also available on the above mentioned sample distribution platforms and many others and all you need to do is search for them.
This is a good thing because you can easily find samples that Timbaland has used in his records.
Vinyl has a reputation in the world of hiphop music.
In the early year’s of rap music, beat makers used vinyl as a source of music which was sampled to make beats.
Even in this day and age, music producers do still rely on vinyl as a source of samples, usually to reproduce and capture that authentic analog feel.
Timbaland is one of the producers that are known for utilizing vinyl in the production of music.
Sampling off vinyl is a delicate art and takes some practice which is why YouTube has made things pretty easy for the modern day producer….which leads me to my next point.
Samples from records
Sampling from vinyl is one thing…Timbaland also basically uses samples from records that are directly gotten off YouTube.
YouTube is untapped resource when it comes to music and you can basically find anything you’re looking for.
Certainly, the availability of vintage records on online platforms has made it easier for music producers to access the music they want.
Timbaland uses sample records from various genres such as soul, funk, rnb etc… and some of these samples are prominent in many of the records he has produced.
Therefore, if one intends to utilize or borrow the production style of timbaland… a good place to start is finding records both old and new that can be sampled to fit Timbos style.
Tracklib is a great source for vintage records… they make sample clearance easier while giving you more access to records and the individual stems and tracks that make up these records.
Timbaland like any other music producer also relies on the use of sound modules of virtual instruments such as omnisphere, serum and other modules from Digital Audio Workstations such as Ableton.
Another source of samples that Timbaland is known for utilizing is an Ableton device called Push.
You’ve probably come across him using the Push Device ( in one of his beat making videos or his twitch live streams)….where he presses one pad of the Push and you hear the sound of a kick drum, and when he presses the pad next to it, you hear the sound of a hi-hat or any other drum element.
He basically creates drum racks by placing drum elements in any order he wants… He then presses the pad of Ableton push randomly….in order to take advantage of the element of surprise creatively.
This randomness allows the final drum track to be unpredictable, spontaneous and unique.
Drum machines are tools that have been around for a long time and are still relevant to this day.
Most music producers that were around in the early days of music production heavily utilized drum machines in their production work.
Timbaland is one producer that is known to mess around on the drum machine as well as use sounds and samples on them.
Now more than ever, loops have made a great impact on music production.
Over 90% of the producer community is known for heavily using sample loops created by sample makers and sample brokers such as Cymatics, Production Loops and other music production startups.
Timbaland often collaborates with various composers and sample makers who provide him with sample loops that he gladly utilizes in his beats and records.
His Twitch live streams are a platform where timbaland connects with various music producers and sample makers who send their samples to him which he goes through and picks which ones to use his beats that he usually makes live on Twitch.