Under Construction, Pt. II

Ask 50 Cent and Nas: beef sells. But is it too much to ask that Timbaland, the most flamboyant sonic risk-taker in hip-hop, not spend the lion's share of his album firing mushy lyrical barbs at nameless haters and wanna-be's? Cast aside the meandering Magoo lyrics that bog down Under Construction Part II — the duo's third and weakest collaborative album — and what emerges is a bitter Timbaland, sneering from his throne. "Don't Make Me Take It There" encapsulates the tone: "If a nigga didn't make his entry/Niggas would be making them same old beats." Even "Hold On," ostensibly a tribute to the late Aaliyah — one of Tim's true muses — laments the copycat culture: "I done seen the world become products of a revolution that we begun." Meanwhile, Tim's normally dazzling beats dodder along harmlessly, proof that he's looking over his shoulder when he should be hunching over his studio equipment.

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