Timbaland, the four-time Grammy-winning songwriter/producer who has worked with Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Missy Elliott and many others, recently opened up about his previous addiction to OxyContin, recalling an incident three years ago where he almost died after taking a near-lethal dose.
“All I can tell you is that there was a light,” he recounted in an interview with Rolling Stone. “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, 45, said his addiction began in his 30s when he started taking pain medications due to nerve issues from an earlier gunshot wound. He said he shook his addiction three years ago. During his struggle with OxyContin, Timbaland said he fell into a cycle of depression and addiction as his career and relationships suffered.
“Music is a gift and curse,” he said. “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 sh–.”
The day following his overdose, Timbaland began gradually lessening his intake until he was ultimately able to kick the addiction.
“I thought about Michael Jackson,” he said. “I didn’t want to be old and taking these pills.”