Justin Timberlake was the most-popular figure in pop culture, as the lead singer of the popular boy band, NSYNC. For years, Justin Timberlake presented himself as one of the pure figures, with his “pure” relationship with Britney Spears. During the end of NSYNC’s run, Justin Timberlake prepared his solo music career, but his high hopes were dampered when he suffered a tough breakup with Britney Spears.
Late in 2002, Justin Timberlake released his debut album, Justified, which was filled with emotion and very much hip hop-oriented. The single, also included on NSYNC’s album, “Girlfriend,” featured Nelly, the most-popular rapper at the time. However, the real Justin Timberlake emerged on the official lead single, “Cry Me a River,” inspired by his breakup and produced by Timbaland.
The remix turned heads, as then-newcomer, 50 Cent, added a verse for the remix. It came as a surprise to both pop and hip hop fans, as Justin Timberlake was labeled “good” and 50 Cent was labeled “bad.” Both the song and the remix did well, as Justin Timberlake established himself as both a pop and R&B king. Four years would pass before Justin Timberlake released another album, but he was kept busy, collaborating with Snoop Dogg for his single, “Signs,” among other collaborations with his producer, Timbaland.
When he did finally deliver his second album, Future Sex/Love Sounds, Justin Timberlake loaded up with even more hip hop collaborations. His second single, “My Love,” featured a verse from T.I. and his “Until the End of Time” remix prominently featured Timberlake exchanging verses with Beyonce. Aside from the music on his album, Justin Timberlake re-teamed with 50 Cent for his 2007 single, “AYO Technology,” a song praised for Timberlake’s willingness to crossover. During this period of time, Justin Timberlake was more popular than many R&B go-to guys for hooks
Since 2007, Justin Timberlake has been primarily focused on acting and business ventures. While Timberlake has been noticably abscent from making music, there has been a lot of debate about hip hop and the quality of the music. Justin Bieber has emerged, taking over the pop charts and working with a number of rappers. However, Justin Timberlake is still in high demand. Does hip hop miss their favorite hook man from 2002 through 2007? Does hip hop need Justin Timberlake to emerge from his musical hibernation and deliver more hits?
Take a look back at Justin Timberlake’s hip hop collaborations below:
NSYNC ft. Nelly – “Girlfriend”
Justin Timberlake ft. The Clipse – “Like I Love You”
Justin Timberlake ft. Timbaland – “Cry Me a River”
Nelly ft. Justin Timberlake – “Work It”
Snoop Dogg ft. Justin Timberlake and Charlie Wilson – “Signs”
Justin Timberlake ft. T.I. – “My Love”
50 Cent ft. Justin Timberlake and Timbaland – “AYO Technology”
T.I. ft. Justin Timberlake – “Dead and Gone”
Timbaland ft. Justin Timberlake – “Carry Out”