Well before their signature Tidewater tick rhythms took over radio, teens Timbaland and Pharrell Williams were cutting demos together as part of a collective known as S.B.I. (Surrounded By Idiots). The crew has long been a point of mythology amongst fans of Virginia Beach beatsmiths and at last there is some audio evidence of their existence. Former S.B.I. member and now Timbo A&R Larry Lyons leaked these three early cuts to his Soundclound over the weekend.
The tracks are predictably rough, informed by the Native Tongues school of playfulness but leaning a little harder to the pop side of the spectrum. DJ Timmy Tim was straight looping up giant chunks of Thriller, young Timbo-friend Magoo was already blatantly borrowing his style from Q-Tip and Pharrell, then known as Magnum, proving to be a little ahead of his time by getting all metaphysically scientifical—Magnum the verb lord opening the door / My third eye’s for thought travel, tickling the core. It’s a cheesy affair (that name alone!) but still an interesting look at two of music’s most important producers’ formative years.
Stream: “It’s Like That”
Stream: “Skull Caps & Striped Shirts”