This is it for Timbaland. Sure, he’s produced many a landmark record. Rarely, though, since his early defining steps with Missy Elliot can he have had as much emotional and career investment in a project as he does here, on Bubba Sparxxx’s follow-up to his 2001 debut.
Bubba hit pay-dirt with his debut single ‘Ugly’, a bruising slab of hicksville hip hop from the dirt tracks of the New South that featured both Missy and Timbaland riding on tractors and Bubba wrestling pigs in the video. The accompanying album, however, felt incomplete and as Timbaland’s showpiece release from his Beat Club it fared poorly in comparison with his rival Dr Dre’s work with his own welfare white rapper, Eminem. ‘Deliverance’ therefore is Timbaland and Bubba’s chance to set the record straight.
This it does well enough. The album has a coherency that was absent first time around, and there is also a rattling freshness to the sound that Timbaland has rustled up. Everything from fiddles, Missy’s ‘Work It’ (cheeky!) and Justin Timberlake to the buzzing of insects are mixed in with the thick, warm beats to create a real down home on the farm feel. It’s ambitious and dense and never less than breathtaking.
The only problem is that despite the brilliance of the music, Bubba remains quite a boring bloke. He has next to nothing to say other than he’s from the South, he likes a beer and it’s great to be back. It’s a drawback that Timbaland seems to has noted too as Bubba’s raps are mercifully low in the mix.
This is one rap album where the rapping takes a back seat.