Timberland and Magoo feat. Aaliyah,
Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Slow Jam Saturday: Timberland & Magoo feat. Aaliyah, Man Undercover

The late great Aaliyah Haughton easily avoided the sophomore slump in late summer 1996 when her album One in a Millon hit record stores. Aaliyah’s label lined her up with some of the hottest producers of the time, including Daryl Simmons, Kay-Gee, Jermaine Dupri, and Rashad Smith. However, her tracks with a then up-and-coming Timbaland truly helped Aliyah find a different sound.

Timbaland produced nine of the album’s seventeen tracks. The time spent working on One in a Millon led to a successful working between the two. A year later, Timbaland and his partner were preparing to release their debut, Welcome to Our World, featuring two appearances from Aaliyah. The first was “Up Jumps da Boogie,” and the second was 

“Man Undercover this week’s pick for Slow Jam Saturday.

Toward the end of Welcome to Our World, Timbaland & Magoo provided the listeners with two slow cuts. “Joy” (featuring Ginuwine and Playa) and Aaliyah’s contribution. The track begins with Timbo’s signature drum sound, with Baby Girl and Missy Elliot’s voices lushly blending before Aaliyah croons the first verse.

“I, I, like the way, way, you get down, down

(that’s the way I like it)

You’re the kinda guy

That makes mom feel proud

Don’t have to show you’re the boy, oh

I, I, like you the way that you are

I like my man undercover

Smooth dark brotha

Fly to the bone

You don’t need no fly jeep

To come and scoop me

You can drive what you own

(thats the way I like it)

A man undercover

Smooth black brotha

Fly to the bone

Don’t need no Gucci sweater

To make you look better

You can wear what you own.”

What I’ve always liked about the song is how Aaliyah eludes admiration for her man while avoiding crass lyrics. Toward the end of the track, Timbaland drops back in to drop a few bars. A fan favorite for years, “Man Undercover” is worth a listen if you’ve never heard the song.

“Man Undercover” is available on Timbaland & Magoo’s Welcome To Our World and Ultimate Aaliyah on all streaming platforms

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