LOS ANGELES — Timbaland is not afraid of wannabes stealing his flow.
The producer-singer, who has collaborated with musicians ranging from Justin Timberlake to Nelly, has found a new duet partner in Rockstar Games. Timbaland is teaming up with the developer behind the "Grand Theft Auto" franchise on the handheld music-making application "Beaterator," but the hip-hop impresario doesn't think the app will put him out of a job.
"I can give you everything," he teases, "but you're not gonna think like I would think."
"Beaterator" features nearly 1,300 sounds and loops created by Timbaland and about another 2,000 from the developers at Rockstar Games. The application is split into three modes: Live Play, Studio Sessions and Song Crafter. Unlike rhythm titles like "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band," there's no game element to "Beaterator." Everything is unlocked from the outset.
Amateur mixmasters can layer vocals, drum machine sounds, kicks, snares, bass loops, synth sounds and a myriad of other noises to create unique beats and melodies. The only game-like aspect of "Beaterator" is Live Play, which allows users to create a song by mashing buttons alongside a virtual Timbaland, who the real Timbaland insists could use some more muscles.
The Grammy winner — whose real name is Tim Mosley — wasn't prepared for how long it took to transform "Beaterator" from a simple application that originally appeared on Rockstar Games' Web site in 2005 into a full-blown beat machine program that will be available for the PlayStation Portable on Sept. 29 and the iPhone and iPod Touch later this fall.
"They broke it down and said, 'Tim, this is not like music. It's gonna take three to four years. Are you prepared for that?'" says Timbaland. "I thought about it just like this — let me try it. And so here we are today. It's all about timing. Sometimes you look at those years and think it's a long time, but it's really not. It's really not."
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