Did you know Aaliyah’s hit song “Try Again” happened by accident?
The producer recently sat down for an interview on the I AM HIP-HOP podcast, where he shared a surprising story about Aaliyah’s “Try Again” came to be. The 51-year-old producer said he was fooling around on the keyboard when he accidentally created the song’s beat.
“It was a mistake, and my engineer Jimmy Douglass caught it,” Timbaland said during the podcast. “I said, ‘Jimmy, did you catch that lil rhythm?, [and] he said, ‘I sure did. So [after] he caught it and played it back, I put the beat on it. I said, ‘Ooo, chop it right there,’ and he chopped it right there.’
The Grammy award-winning producer also shared that the original lyrics were tweaked because they sounded “too preachy.” The Virginia native’s confidence about the track grew once he got an approval from none other than JAY-Z.
“When JAY-Z came in the studio, he was like, ‘Oh my God,’ and that’s when I was like, ‘Yeah, we got one,'” he added.
Featured on the soundtrack for the 2000 film Romeo Must Die, which starred Aaliyah herself in her film debut, “Try Again” skyrocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The iconic tune also picked up a Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 2001.
Timbaland went on to share a few other little-known facts, including the story about how he discovered Ludacris.
“I was the one who found Ludacris,” he said. “Because Ludacris was working in the radio station, and I was like, ‘Hey, ain’t nobody sign you? What’s going on here?’ [He was like], ‘Nah man.'”
According to Timbaland, Ludacris came out to Virginia and recorded his song “Phat Rabbit.”
“From there, labels started calling,” Timbaland said. “He asked me one time, ‘Would you sign to Def Jam or Elektra?’ I said, ‘Man, you better go to Def Jam. And I didn’t know how the business go, I just backed them ’cause I knew he was incredible.”
Watch Timbaland’s full interview above.