"Give It to Me" features Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake, and Timbaland, each staking their claim within the music industry and taking a swipe at those who have attempted to bring them down and insult them in the past. Each of the three featured artists has a single verse in the song separated by the chorus, which is sung by Furtado.Furtado's verse is about pop singer Fergie's appearance and comment that Furtado is not "promiscuous" in her 2006 single "Fergalicious". Furtado said on Big Boy's Neighborhood (Power 106 FM) that a couple of lines of "Give It to Me" are directed at Fergie and explained why she wrote those lines. The rumour was fuelled by the lines:
The rumour is that Fergie had changed the sound of her solo album to follow Nelly's style. In "Fergilicious," there's a tenuous connection because Fergie raps, "But I ain't promiscuous."
Nelly, was asked on Ryan Seacrest's radio show if her verse was about Fergie, she was audibly dumbstruck. "Ummm, no," she said. "I think Tim[baland] and I just got a little cheeky and we were like, let's do a song about how great we are." The Fergie connection is pretty weak. Everyone knows Fergie's lyrics come from throwing a box of Alpha-Bits on the floor and jotting down all the words she can read.
But while we're working out conspiracy theories, maybe Nelly's gettin' all feisty with the photoshoppers who make her over for magazine covers, none more dramatically than the British edition of FHM. In 2002, Nelly said the mag had run a sexy photo of her on their cover without permission, digitally superimposing a very bare, very fake stomach.
"You work hard to represent a certain thing and have a certain image, and somebody can take it all away with the cover of a magazine," she told the BBC at the time.
The lyrics in "Give It To Me" say,
Who knows if she's working the personal hate-on for photoshop, but the sentiment is there.
In an interview with MTV, Timbaland said the target of his verse was producer Scott Storch, with whom he co-wrote Timberlake's 2002 single "Cry Me a River". Though production on the song is credited solely to Timbaland, Storch has claimed that he helped produce it and did not receive due credit. On February 27, in response to the song, Scott Storch released a diss towards Timbaland, "Built like That" featuring Nox.
"I get a half a mil for my beats/You get a couple grand. Never gonna see the day that I ain't got the upper hand. I'm respected from Californ-i-a way down to Japan. I'm a real producer and you just a piano man."
Timbaland's reps repeatedly claimed the song was not about anyone particular in the industry, but he made liars of them when he jumped on Marquee's turntable last week.
Celebrating after his concert with Timberlake at the Meadowlands, Timbaland was given a microphone and started improvising, clubgoers told Page Six. Rapping along to his lyrics, Timbaland yelled, "Scott Storch, I'm a real producer and you just a piano man."
The crowd was "shocked," said our spies. "But when he called Storch 'a bitch,' that pretty much cleared up any confusion over who that song is about."
Storch released his own single via YouTube in March, "Built Like That," in which he lashed out against his one-time ally Timbaland for stealing producing credits on Timberlake's song "Cry Me a River," a number on which Storch worked but was given no credit.
In his rebuttal, Storch raps about Timbaland's pal Nate "Danja" Hills:
It is rumored Timberlake's verse is aimed at pop artist Prince.Prince reportedly started a feud during an Emmy after-party, claiming that "For whoever is claiming that they are bringing sexy back, sexy never left!", which caused Timberlake's response:
When the song was released, it was rumored that Timberlake's verse was aimed at pop singer Janet Jackson, but this rumor was denied by MTV News, which wrote, "A source close to the record said that Timberlake's lyrics have nothing to do with his infamous Super Bowl co-star—but he is responding to another pop artist who has seen career heights few other singers can boast."