Former beloved blue-eyed crooner turned the one Black Twitter loves to side-eye, Justin Timberlake has sat down with Zane Lowe on Beats 1 to discuss the misunderstanding within Black culture and more.
During the two-part interview, Timberlake touched on what it was like working with some of the biggest name in the game.
“It crazy being in this studio because this is where I worked with Jay [Z] on Marga Carta[Holy Grail] and Beyoncé as well, I wrote a few joints,” Timberlake said.
But it wasn’t all name dropping, JT dived into what fans should expect from his album and why he decided to go the direction more tailored to himself with this album.
“It feels good to make music for my son, because a lot of music I made previously he can’t listen to yet,” Justin said. “It was just good to have great people around me like Chad, Pharrell and Timbaland that really helped me decide what was great for my album.”
Justin also touched on how he feels like his intentions and words are often misconstrued and taken out of context.
ZANE: We get to a cornerstone on this record, Justin, that I’ve been looking forward to talking to you about. It’s one of the most powerful songs on the record. It’s called “Say Something.” It’s a collaboration with you and Chris Stapleton. Another one you guys co-wrote together taking what you’ve done onstage into the studio and giving us something forever. Is this song in some part from your point of view a reflection on recent misunderstandings and things that you’ve tried to say that have come from the heart and come from a good place but ultimately get twisted and turned and taken the wrong way?
JUSTIN: Sure, that’s part of it. We wrote the song almost a year ago and so a lot of weird things were happening and they still are in the world. It was the first song we wrote together and he kind of came in and I thought to myself, it would be really cool to see if we wrote something and we just let Timbaland and Danja just dress it and just see what happens. And he came in and he was talking to me and he was like, how’s everything been going? I played him a couple of things Pharrell and I had done and he was like wow, this is something different. And I said I really think we could do something special. He’s like, what do you want to write about? I said I feel like there’s a lot going on in the world. I feel like there’s always misunderstandings. I said and I want to speak up and I want to say something but I just don’t want to get caught in the rhythm of something because if the rhythm goes off, the train goes off the tracks. And he was just like, ok I’ll be right back. And he wrote those two lines down and then he sort took a second to himself. I think maybe with the notoriety that has come his way in recent years because he’s penned so many songs for so many artists on that side of the fence and now to be a solo artist, I think he’s starting to see that you can be in the middle of a storm of confusion.
ZANE: There is a line of the song which cuts right to it, please forgive me if I get it wrong I’ve only listened a few times..
JUSTIN: “sometimes the greatest way to say something, is to say nothing at all.”
In regards to the comments about Jesse Williams that caused the biggest Black Twitter drag of his career, Timberlake says he regrets his response and still questions how he handled things.
ZANE: The Jesse Williams thing. All these things that go on you find yourself like oh my gosh, I’ve got to correct this.
JUSTIN: For sure. And you feel terrible, like oh man that is not what I meant. Why did I do that?
ZANE: Right. Why did I do that in real life?
JUSTIN: Well you realize too that like patience really is a virtue. You have to learn that. Chris and I were having this whole conversation about like people don’t really care what we think, they just want to hear our music. It’s like well we care what we think. You really have this internal struggle with it. People can just say a bunch of sh** and then people go, well I believe that.
JUSTIN: you know, so it can be very confusing. I feel like that song is about that moment. And I think anybody can have it. You can have it on a level like you’re talking about or you can have it with your wife. You can have that with your son. And there’s been times when I’m managing a two and a half/ three year old right now, and you know what that’s like where all of a sudden they fly off the handle and you’re like you are acting like a complete animal.
ZANE: Oh yeah. And how do I communicate.
JUSTIN: Sometimes you just have to sit back and let them have that moment. And it’s true you don’t always accomplish the things you need to accomplish by jumping in and butting in. The song is really about it is about that internal struggle. But I think everybody can have it on any level.
Check out both interviews below.