November 27, 2017


Timbaland Reveals He Almost Overdosed on Painkillers: 'All I Can Tell You is That There Was a Light'

Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Sony Music
Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Sony Music

Timbaland digs into his past in a new Rolling Stone interview, where he reflects on a near-death experience with his addiction to OxyContin. He recalls a moment a few years ago where his girlfriend Michelle feared he would die in his asleep—and it almost happened.

"All I can tell you is that there was a light/ I woke up trying to catch my breath, like I was underwater. But through that whole thing I saw life—I saw where I would be if I don't change, and where I could be if I did," Timbaland explains as he remembers going through a tough withdrawal period. "But I thought about Michael Jackson. I didn't want to be old and taking these pills." The producer says he began taking the painkillers to aide nerve issues from a gunshot wound he got as a teenager. But it spun into an addiction once he realized his musical reign was as strong as it once was, as he saw less chart success.

"Music is a gift and curse. Once you're not popping, it plays with your mind. The pills helped block out the noise—I'd just sleep all day," Timbaland states. "I remember Jay-Z told me one time, 'Don't do no more interviews'—because I was saying crazy shit." He felt compelled to tell his story following the deaths of his friend Chris Cornell and Prince, who he looked up to as a music hero. He hopes current rappers will take note of the issue and become more aware in the wake of the drug user era in hip-hop.

The Rolling Stone interview also vaguely teases his work on Justin Timberlake's upcoming album. Timbaland only had this to say: "The music we just made? It's gonna put him on another plateau." Before we get new music from the two, watch Timbaland's longtime friend/collaborator Missy Elliott talk to Fuse about her career and the producer's key role in it: