After suffering a near-overdose, Timbaland says he’s ready to make a return to music. The acclaimed producer spoke with Rolling Stone about the drug addiction and depression that almost killed him.
“All I can tell you is that there was a light,” he said of his near-overdose. “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…I thought about Michael Jackson. I didn’t want to be old and taking these pills.”
He had been hooked on OxyContin and the effects were startling those around him, including JAY-Z. “Music is a gift and curse,” he explained. “Once you’re not popping, it plays with your mind. The pills helped block out the noise – I’d just sleep all day. I remember Jay-Z told me one time, ‘Don’t do no more interviews’ – because I was saying crazy shit.”
After the near-overdose, Timbaland says that he weaned off pills and made a clean break. He now smokes weed and drinks alcohol but warns young fans and musicians to stay away from counterfeit pain pills that may include opiates like fentanyl, which can be deadly.
Now, he’s working on a solo album, which is due next year with appearances from Justin Timberlake, Rick Ross, Zayn Malik, and others. He also recently wrapped Timberlake’s next album, which has yet to be announced. “The music we just made?” he said. “It’s gonna put him on another plateau.”
On top of that, the 45-year-old producer has been working with burgeoning artists like $ki Mask the Slump God. “Right now, I feel like what I can do with my legacy is to give back,” he added. “Which means finding the youth of today. Look at Quincy Jones – he was 50 when he did Thriller! What’s my Thriller!“