Recorded across a six-week period during the hiatus of NYSNC, Justin Timberlake made waves with the release of his first solo effort, Justified. Moving towards R&B and away from the traditional Pop sound of his previous musical entourage, Timberlake successfully established himself as a thriving solo artist. 

Production was largely handled by duo Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams, collectively known as The Neptunes, with additional collaborators including the likes of Brian McKnight, Timbaland and The Underdogs.

Hugo and Williams reported that they listened to Earth, Wind & Fire albums for inspiration, also citing Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall and Thriller as major creative influences when it came to handling production. [We wanted to re-create] "That sense of those timeless, classic songs […] It has elements of the old and the new."