'Shock Value': Is Timbaland a Horseman in training for Ric Flair?
The term "legend" is often overused, but "Nature Boy" Ric Flair is a bona fide legend in sports-entertainment. Producer/hip-hop artist Timbaland has become a legend in the recording industry, developing hits for a who's who in music for more than a decade, from Jodeci, to Missy Elliott to Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake.
But the public may not know that Timbaland is a longtime wrestling fan -- and that Ric Flair is his favorite Superstar. So Christmas came a little early for the music impresario, whose new CD Timbaland Presents Shock Value was released Tuesday, when he got a chance to meet and talk to the Nature Boy in this week's Superstar to Superstar:
Flair: So I hear you grew up watching the "Nature Boy" and that you're a big fan. I hear that a lot from some of our current Superstars and fans who grew up watching me and Hulk Hogan. The Hulkster is great but he's no "Nature Boy" -- so I'm curious, why did you prefer me over Hogan?
Timbaland: Why did I prefer the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair? All because of two reasons: you and Dusty Rhodes' feud was the best thing going.
Flair: Have you met him yet?
Timbaland: No, I haven't met him yet.
With that, Flair stops and motions to WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, who is backstage. After sharing pleasantries with the "American Dream," a thrilled Timbaland continues the interview.
Timbaland: So, therefore Hogan is a friend of mine, too. But it's just that there was nothing like the "Nature Boy." When you started the Four Horsemen with Arn Anderson and all of them, you couldn't get any better than that. You all made wrestling come to life.
Flair: Our DVD [Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen] comes out next week.
Timbaland: I gotta go get one.
Flair: Oh, don't worry. We'll get you one.
Timbaland: To me, that was when wrestling came alive. You brought something to wrestling that didn't exist. Now, when Hulk Hogan turned bad [in WCW in 1996 and formed the New World Order], that was good. But it was nothing like Ric Flair.
Flair: Thank you very much…. I have seen them all and wrestled them all in this business. You have worked with and produced so many hits for so many artists in music. Who haven't you worked with that you'd love to collaborate with the most?
Timbaland: The Rolling Stones. I love Mick Jagger.
Flair: You like the older guys?
Flair: That's why I'm in the picture? [laughs]
Timbaland: Yeah [laughs]. They just bring life [to music]. To me, that's real music. A lot of the stuff is not; it's saturated. I love to get knowledge from that generation that I listened to growing up and just work it.
Flair: You have been stylin' and profiling with the likes of Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake and The Pussycat Dolls and turned their material into gold over the past year. Now the bright lights get to shine only on you with your new CD Timbaland Presents Shock Value. Tell me about Shock Value. How would you describe it? What gives it "shock value"?
Timbaland: Shock Value is what the title is, just like anything else. It's just a lot of artists that people wouldn't think of me working with, artists such as Elton John, The Hives, The Fall Out Boys. A lot of rock people that people think I wouldn't like because they're used to me doing [stuff] from the Justins to the Nellys. I was doing a lot of stuff, collaborating with a lot of people that's not -- that you wouldn't think to see my mind go there. That's why I call it Shock Value because if you pick up the CD, you would say, "Wait a minute."
Flair: Because you're working with artists they never thought you'd work with?
Flair: That's cool…. I have been a part of two memorable factions in the Four Horsemen (my personal favorite) and Evolution, and I had a huge impact on DX. "Double A" Arn Anderson is perhaps my closest friend and most trusted partner in the business. Do you have anyone that you have loved working with the most? Who is your most trusted friend/colleague in the music industry?
Timbaland: My most trusted friend in the industry, I have to say, is Missy Elliott because we started from day one. She's been with me from day one, starting the whole thing. I've watched her grow, watched her growing pains. She's been like my sister in the whole business. After that [Missy], I would have to say Justin [Timberlake].
Flair: How do you approach collaborating with so many different artists, since each one is so different? Who are your influences? Who do you like to listen to?
Timbaland: I listen to a lot of Coldplay. I listen to a lot of Metallica and a lot of Iron Maiden.
Flair: Iron Maiden? That's a big contrast. [laughs]
Timbaland: [Laughs] "Melodies of the Good Time Reel," I love. A lot of the old stuff like Rod Stewart, stuff from the ‘70s and ‘80s.
Flair: That's awesome…. I have had many pupils -- many imitators but no duplicates -- guys who have used my knowledge and gone on to become champions, like Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista. I share a lot of what I know, but not everything. Do you have anyone under your wing? How do you approach sharing your knowledge?
Timbaland: I have a lot of producers under my wing. And I give them enough knowledge where they can make a living from what I can show them, but they can never be me. I can just show them the way to go about it, [how] to be business-minded, how to go about it a certain way. But if everyone looks for Timbaland in that person, it takes a long time to be on their own, to gain that respect. I just try to show them the ropes, how to go about the business, stay in the business. But don't get too big-headed and wander off, think that you that you can do it [without help]…. People know where the chemistry is.
Flair: To be a member of the Four Horsemen, you had to be among the elite -- but you also had to be able to party with the "Nature Boy" and go all night and go a little longer. Do you think you would have been Horsemen material and if so, why?
Timbaland: The Four Horsemen, just the name alone -- you know you have a lot of rappers and a lot of entertainers, who consider themselves a Horseman. The Four Horsemen, the Two Horsemen -- horsemen is the word. You all brought that word to life! Could I see myself as part of The Horsemen? It would take me a minute because it wasn't just about the name. To get that name you have to have a certain swagger, and only you four can recognize that swagger. I could do everything you can possibly do, but I may not have that mystique about me that everybody would know, that's the Four Horsemen. That's the difference with y'all. When the Four Horsemen made an entrance, the world knew you were taking a stand. It might take me a minute [to be Horsemen material]; I might have to go through a lot of boot camp training. Hopefully, I could be a part of the Four Horsemen.
Flair: What about your nightlife?
Timbaland: My nightlife? Not like the Four Horsemen. [laughs]
Flair: [Laughs] Thank God! A few years ago, you and Magoo and Missy Elliot collaborated on a new version of the classic theme to Spider-Man. If the opportunity came up, how would you breathe new life -- or a different life -- into my classic ring entrance music?
Timbaland: It would be easy. I would just take the song, listen to it again, keep what is there and just make it of today's society.
Flair: I hear you will be working on a project with our Divas. Tell me about it.
Timbaland: I'm doing [the video for] my next single, which will probably be featuring the Divas. I have to pick a couple [of them] for the video and see which one them fits the best for the song. I love all of them, but there's only going to be a couple that's going to be working with me.
Flair: You know the ladies love the "Nature Boy." "Space Mountain" has been open for many years and will not close anytime soon. The "Nature Boy" can still go all night and go a little longer. How can "Naitch" get a little piece of your project? A video with beautiful ladies -- the Sexiest Women on Television, Wooo! -- wouldn't be complete without the "Nature Boy."
Timbaland: I don't know yet [laughs]. I gotta think about that one. That's a big one.
Flair: What's next for you?
Timbaland: The sky's the limit. Whatever comes to be, I'm all open, all willing -- new adventures, new business deals, new everything.
Flair: That's awesome. Congratulations, man. It's an honor having you here. Thank you.
Timbaland: Thank you. It's just an honor being in your presence.