The Trash-Talking Meaning Behind “Give It to Me” by Timbaland

In the 2000s, super producer Timbaland was having a moment. Not only had the beatmaker risen to fame thanks to his collaborative partnerships, first with R&B star Aaliyah and then with rapper Missy Elliott, but he became an international sensation when he started working with pop star Justin Timberlake.

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So, what did Timbaland do? He continued to expand, releasing his popular sophomore album, Shock Value, in 2007 and the follow-up, Shock Value II, in 2009. But it was on the 2007 offering that Timbaland enjoyed one of his biggest successes, the single, “Give It to Me,” featuring Timberlake and smooth singer Nelly Furtado.

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But what is the story behind the song? Let’s dive in and find out that answer and the meaning of the track, below.


Timbaland is nothing if not versatile. Known as a rap producer who has worked with the likes of Missy and Jay Z, Timbaland is more than a single-genre star. “Give It to Me” was a crossover pop hit, with big rhythms and big melodies. On the song, Timbaland seems to rap, but he’s also singing, bookended by Furtado and Timberlake, two of the era’s biggest hitmakers.

Trash Talking

Each verse in the song is trash talk. The now-51-year-old Virginia-born Timothy Zachery Mosley (aka Timbaland) calls out producer Scott Storch in his verse. Storch, who previously worked with Timbaland and is known for collabs with Lil Wayne and 50 Cent, somehow got in Timbo’s cross-hairs.

Though Timbaland never calls out Storch by name, those in the know knew it was a diss against Timbaland’s former colleague. ,

When Timbo’ is in the party everybody put up their hands
I get a half a mill’ for my beats, you get a couple gra-a-and
Never gon’ see the day that I ain’t got the upper hand
I’m respected from Californ-I-A way down to Japan
I’m a real producer, and you just a piano man
Your songs don’t top the charts, I heard ’em, I’m not a fa-a-an
Niggas talkin’ greasy, I’m the one that gave them they chance
Somebody need to tell ’em that they can’t do it like I can

In these lines, Timbaland is saying Storch isn’t a “real producer” and that even though Timbo gave Storch an early chance, the latter is coming back and “talkin’ greasy.”

In subsequent interviews, including with MTV News, Timbaland confirmed that he was talking about his former protege, with their beef beginning over a dispute regarding writing credits for Timberlake’s 2003 hit, “Cry Me a River.” For that song, Storch said he was the real person behind the track.


Rumors of the trash-talking don’t end there. Many fans have said that Furtado’s lines are directed at pop star Fergie, though Furtado denied those accusations.

I’m the type of girl that’ll look you dead in the eye, eye
I’m real as they come if you don’t know why I’m fly-y-y-y-y
I seen you to try switch it up, but girl, you ain’t that dope
I’m the Wonder Woman, let me go get my rope
I’m a supermodel and mommy, sí, mami
Amnesty International, got Bangkok to Montauk on lock
Love my ass and my abs in the video called “Promiscuous”
My style is ri-dic-dic-diculous-ulous-ulous

When asked on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show if the lyrics were about Fergie, Furtado said, “Ummm, no,” she said. “I think Tim[baland] and I just got a little cheeky and we were like, let’s do a song about how great we are.”

Prince, Too?

As for Timberlake, his lyrics, fans say, seem to be directed at Prince. Could this be true? Well, when Timberlake released his hit “SexyBack” in 2006, the Purple One took a bit of an issue with the song, saying, “For whoever is claiming they are bringing sexy back, sexy never left!”

So, biting back, Timberlake took aim in his lyrics for the song, saying,

Could you speak up and stop mu-mumbling? I don’t think you came in clear
When you’re sittin’ on the top, it’s hard to hear you from way up here
Now I saw you tryna act cute on TV, “Just let me clear the air”
We missed you on the charts last week, damn, that’s right, you wasn’t there
If s-sexy never left, then why is everybody on my shi-i-it?
Don’t hate on me just because you didn’t come up with it
So if you see us in the club, go on and walk the other way
‘Cause our run will never be over, not at least until we say

Timberlake was white hot at the moment. But still others believe he was also taking aim at former girlfriend Britney Spears’ then-new man, dancer Kevin Federline, who had been in the news at the time talking smack about Timberlake, who had recently released several songs bashing Britney’s promiscuity, including “Cry Me a River” and “What Goes Around… Comes Around.”

Final Thoughts

In the end, this smash club hit, which hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, was both the fire and the smoke. It was a jam many shook hips to and one that caused rifts in the world of popular music. It’s a weapon and a relief. It’s many things at once. Yes, it’s Timbaland’s calling card.

[RELATED: Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado Drop New Single “Keep Going Up”]

While it’s been 16 years since Timbaland, Timberlake, and Furtado collaborated on their No. 1 hit “Give It to Me,” the trio has recently reunited to announce their second single, “Keep Going Up.”

Photo by Kevin Kane/WireImage

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