During a virtual appearance at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Record Music’s 2023 Pop Conference, Timbaland revealed how Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory inspired the late Aaliyah’s 1998 hit “Are You That Somebody.”
“I actually was trying to make the Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory beat from the ‘Oompa Loompa’ song,” Timbaland said, before singing the hook from the film. “I took that rhythm and I listened back to it and I was like, ‘Man, that’s a dope addition.’ That’s what I was trying to attempt but in a hip hop way... I gotta thank Willy Wonka for that."
According to Pitchfork, Timbaland added that the iconic baby noise used on “Are You That Somebody” came from a "‘60s sound effects record." "The baby part was me going through my sounds," he revealed. "I feel like life is full of music. As soon as you wake up, hearing the trees, that’s music. Hearing the crickets, that’s music. I feel like everything that we do is music. When you come outside, listen to the trees, the birds, the crickets, the animals, they all make music. So that’s always been my thing because we didn’t have money when I was growing up, so how could you make music."
“So I was going through my effects sounds, and I heard this baby,” the legendary record producer continued. “Was it a baby, was it a chicken, there was a cow, there was Godzilla, this whole row. And this baby came across, and it was laughing, and that [one sound] wasn’t the whole thing. It was like [imitates four consecutive baby giggles]. I got to that one part, and as soon as the beat came on, I just hit the button. I didn’t think it was gonna work. I was talking to Aaliyah from where she was sitting on the couch, and I just hit the button and it was in key. Everything was perfect. I put it in the song and she said, ‘Oh that’s so cute!’”
Following its release, the single peaked at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, No. 1 on the R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart, No. 1 on the Rhythmic chart, and No. 9 on the Top 40 Tracks chart.