The culture almost lost a real one to drug addiction and depression. As the debate concerning hip-hop and its obsession with addiction and pill-popping thickens, Timbaland recently opened up about his own personal struggles in a new interview with Rolling Stone. The mega-producer revealed that he was battling both an addiction to OxyContin and depression.
Timbaland reportedly began taking the strong pain reliever in his thirties to help with nerve tissue damage that resulted from a gunshot wound her suffered from as a teen, Rolling Stone reports. But soon after, Timbo became hooked, popping more and more pills as his depression worsened and his chart success declined. “Music is a gift and curse," he told the publication. "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 s**t."
In addition to doing crazy interviews, Timbaland admitted that he blew through a significant amount of his savings and his addiction even played a huge part in his collapsing marriage. The producer’s current girlfriend, Michelle, said his addiction got so out of control that she was afraid he would die in his sleep. "I'd put my hand right by his nose, just to see if he was still breathing,” she noted.
Timbaland eventually suffered from what he believes to be a near-fatal overdose. "All I can tell you is that there was a light. 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." The next day, he began to detox and hasn’t touched the pills since. "I didn't want to be old and taking these pills."
It’s a good thing that Timbaland was able to overcome his addiction and depression. But unfortunately, others haven’t been as lucky. Lil Peep, Prince and Timbo’s friend and collaborator Chris Cornell all lost their lives to addiction or mental illness. That’s why Timbaland is speaking up about his own struggles in order to help the next person. As for the discussion regarding the new generation of artists’ interest in recording “drug music,” he suggested that it’s a product of their everyday life. "I came from the era of drug dealers [making rap hits],” he added. “Now we're in the era of drug users. These kids come from a place where they don't have money, don't have a real home. It affects them, and you hear it in the music."
(Photo: Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)