The super trio is back!
Timbaland released his new single, “Keep Going Up” featuring Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado on Thursday — and it feels like the 2000s.
The song starts with a callback to Nelly’s 2006 hit, “Promiscuous.”
“How you doing young lady/does the feeling still drive you crazy?” Timbo asks before Nelly comes in and lays down the first verse with an update that includes, “I been lovin’ myself, daily.”
Justin joins in on chorus with Nelly as they remind the people that they are better than ever, “Our new life’s much better than the old one/You look around, I’m still around.”
For JT in verse three, he’s here to remind you that sexy never left dropping lines like: “I been on new energy, it’s contagious,” and “Still got the belt, don’t buckle under pressure/champ, I’m still reigning.”
Fans have been anticipating the release of “Keep Going Up” since Timbaland teased the song’s release earlier this month with a series of pics from FaceTime and a nostalgic video of him, Nelly and Justin performing.
The single is the first time the friends have released music together since 2007’s “Give It To Me.” And Timbaland tells ET, this is a special moment.
“I don’t know what it was, but this song is special,” the producer told ET’s Kevin Frazier via Zoom. “I hope it stays up to everything that the people want. If people want the 2006 back, I think we did it justice.”
He adds, “I think we gave it a song with meaning. Meaning, it can relate to you or your friends. ‘I keep going up, if you keep going up.’ Like no matter what you go through, Imma be here for you. You know what I’m saying? And that’s what that song is. It has all different meanings, and you still dance to it. You still jam to it. That’s why this song is one of the best of my lifetime. It feels like ‘We Are The World.’”
It all started with a beat the producer heard, originally created by a group called Animal Kingdom on his Beat Club. From there, he knew it was magic when he got Nelly to change her vacation plans and lay down her verse, and got on a flight to Los Angeles, where he got Justin in the studio right away.
“All this happened was like it was a sign,” Timbaland says. “That’s what I’m saying. Everything flowed. The energy was transferable. Justin, he didn’t know his schedule. This is last minute. This is all like happening in real time, like he’s like on a plane listening to it. He’s like ‘Whoa, this is it.”
Timbaland is no stranger to making hits with both Justin and Nelly. In 2006, he produced their respective No. 1 albums, FutureSexLoveSounds and Loose. The super producer went on to collaborate with Justin again on his last album, Man of the Woods.
“I’m the disruption that comes in when we come together,” he says about working with the artists. “The pot gonna stir a little bit and I’m gonna know what direction to go when it comes to music. And I think this is what we have.”
And all it took was one take for Justin to get the song, because according to Timbo, they get each other.
“The synergy that we have is just like life,” he says about working with the “Sexyback” singer. “It’s like something that moves out of us that we speak the same musical language, and it’s like without talking to him, I know what type of music he’s looking for without even talking to him.”
The trio is only getting started. Timbaland reveals to ET that there is a joint album in the works.
“This [“Keep Going Up”] sets you up for everything JT and Nelly about to do,” he teases. “I went to Justin doing a rehearsal, I said, ‘A fan said we should do album.’ He’s like, ‘You know what, we should.’ And that’s in the works.”
As for the timeframe, Timbaland says it could happen “ASAP.”
“This whole song is sparking off something that I think that’s gonna be incredible,” he says.
Timbaland, who is set to release his new ep Textbook Timbo later this year, says “Keep Going Up” is a song you’ll hear for years to come and everywhere music is played.
“This song will age just as well as my other songs aged,” he tells ET. “I want to create just a little window of nostalgia for this generation just to understand what greatness is. I feel like “Keep Going Up is the song that loosens up the party, and make you have a drink.”
“Keep Going Up” is out now. Textbook Timbo is out later this year.