by G. Brown
He’s one of hip hop’s most prolific producers/rappers having collaborated with successful artists like Ginuwine, Aaliyah , Missy Elliott, Rihanna, Drake, Justin Timberlake and JayZ. As the musical maestro behind some of Pop’s, R&B’s and Hip hop’s biggest hits, Timbaland formed his own record label, Mosley Music Group in 2006 signing on artists like Nelly Furtado and Keri Hilson.
Rubbing elbows with the biggest names in the music industry, building a strong reputation as not just a producer, but also a rapper, it seemed like Timbaland had it all…and he did. Including a drug addiction.
Rolling Stone Magazine tells the story few Timbaland fans knew. Rolling Stone says,”Talk to any of Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley’s friends, and you’ll hear the same thing: that just a couple of years ago he was a totally different ma n. They’ll tell you that he had lost his way, becoming depressed, overweight…” After more than a decade of having the midas touch and cranking out hit after hit, Timbaland found himself on a downward spiral. According to the article, “He hadn’t had a major success since Beyoncé’s 2013 self-titled LP; his marriage was faltering; and his closest industry friends, the producers Pharrell Williams and Swizz Beatz, were concerned enough that they were checking in to give him pep talks..” The rapper says he felt “lost” and that he was “riding off ego“. Things were bad…and going to get worse. Timbaland says he started taking pain meds to help with nerve issues from a gunshot wound, but before he knew it, he was addicted—“I was on OxyContin…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.”
Rolling Stone quotes Timbaland’s girlfriend who says the rapper was taking such high doses of pills that “It was so bad, to the point where I couldn’t even sleep,” she says. “I’d put my hand right by his nose, just to see if he was still breathing.” Timbaland says one night, he did come very close to dying of an overdose–“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 says he weaned himself off the pills until he reached a point where he could make a clean break of the addiction. Today, Timbaland says the near-death experience helped him to redirect his focus. He lost 40 pounds and spends much of his free time with his 10 year old daughter. He’s also back to doing what he loves in the music studio. He’s working on new sounds with Timberlake and Rick Ross.
Timbaland says he wants to talk about his addiction because others like Prince and Michael Jackson didn’t survive to tell others about the pitfalls of prescription painkillers. Timbaland says he especially wants to make young fans as well as up and coming artists aware of the dangers of opiates saying “I came from the era of drug dealers [making rap hits]…Now we’re in the era of drug users.”