Timbaland talks OxyContin addiction and new music with Justin Timberlake, JAY-Z

“I was on drugs, dude,” the producer told Rolling Stone.

November 28, 2017

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Timbaland has spoken for the first time about a drug addiction that he feared would end his life. The producer spoke to Rolling Stone about a serious OxyContin habit that began while recovering from nerve damage sustained from a gunshot wound he received as a teenager. He said that this, teamed with a downturn in fortune in his career during the past few years, combined to a dangerous degree.


“I was on drugs, dude,” Timbaland 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 shit.”

At one point in the interview Timbaland said he came close to overdosing. “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 was ostensibly talking to Rolling Stone to discuss his work in the studio, which includes sessions with JAY-Z, Zayn Malik, Wiz Khalifa, and Justin Timberlake's new album. “The music we just made? It’s gonna put him on another plateau,” the producer said of Timberlake.

He's also looking to work with new artists and has been recording with Soundcloud rapper Ski Mask the Slump God. “Right now, I feel like what I can do with my legacy is to give back. Which means finding the youth of today. Look at Quincy Jones — he was 50 when he did Thriller! What’s my Thriller!”

Timbaland talks OxyContin addiction and new music with Justin Timberlake, JAY-Z