Timbaland is looking for his Thriller. In a revealing new interview with Rolling Stone, the influential producer got candid about his legacy and what he's doing now to help the new wave of creatives find their voice. Timbo also discussed what he describes as a near-death OxyContin overdose, which occurred during some of the most tumultuous years of his life.
"I was on drugs, dude," said Timbaland, who started taking pain meds in his 30s due to nerve issue stemming from a gunshot injury he sustained as a teen. "I was on OxyContin." Timbaland said his Oxy use eventually got out of control. Simultaneously, his presence on the charts started to take a dive and his marriage started falling apart. "The pills helped block out the noise," he said. "I'd just sleep all day." At one point, Timbaland remembered, Jay Z suggested he avoid doing interviews because he had started saying "crazy shit."
Then, three years ago, Timbaland was scared into weaning himself off Oxy. "I woke up trying to catch my breath, like I was underwater," he recalled. "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 said he's speaking out about his experience now because music has entered the "era of drug users," following his come-up in the "era of drug dealers." He also pointed out the dangers of buying counterfeit pills, noting the prevalence of fentanyl, which caused the accidental overdose death of his "hero" Prince. Police are currently investigating whether the death of 21-year-old Lil Peep involved a drug laced with fentanyl.
Timbaland recently completed work on Justin Timberlake's still-untitled follow-up to 2013's The 20/20 Experience and is prepping a solo album for 2018.