During a recent appearance on the “I Am Athlete” podcast, Timbaland spoke about his career and named his favorite hip hop artists of all time.
The list included Slick Rick, Gang Starr, Run-DMC, LL Cool J, Doug E. Fresh, Rakim, and Wu-Tang Clan. He also brought up Fat Joe, Big Pun, OutKast, DMX, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, 8-Ball & MJG, N.W.A, A Tribe Called Quest, as well as Ludacris, who he claimed to have discovered.
“I was the one who found Ludacris,” Timbaland began. “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.’”
The legendary producer added, “Then he came down to Virginia, and we did ‘Phat Rabbit,’ and from there, labels started calling. 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, so I put him on that list.”
Ludacris has previously been upfront about Timbaland being one of the first people in the industry to back him. The “My Chick Bad” rapper explained a similar story in a short clip posted on his Instagram page in 2019.
“Tim was the first person that really believed in me, along with Jermaine Dupri and Organized Noize,” he said at the time. “But in terms of really the very first person, [he] came to the radio station in Atlanta when I was working there. Timbaland was the first person who was like, ‘Who is that?’ And then [I] got on ‘Phat Rabbit’ and got on Tim’s Bio. Do your history, Google that. He’s the first person. So, to be back in the studio with him at this moment in time — for this juncture and this particular moment that is about to be monumental for me — is amazing.”