Timbaland reveals ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’ inspiration for Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody”

Written by on May 1, 2023

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Timbaland pulled from different sounds when he produced Aaliyah‘s 1998 song “Are You That Somebody.” Speaking on a panel for the 2023 Pop Conference at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, he revealed that one of those sounds was “Oompa Loompa” from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

“I actually was trying to make the Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory beat from the ‘Oompa Loompa’ song,” he said. He then sung the hook, noting, “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,” the producer went on.

The song, he added, also includes a sample of a single guitar chart from The Meters and the baby noise he found on a 1960s sound effects records.

“So I was going through my effects sounds, and I heard this baby. 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 wasn’t the whole thing,” he said, per Pitchfork. “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!'”

Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody” appeared on the soundtrack for Dr. Dolittle.

 

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