Timbaland’s frightening near-death experience: “There was a light”
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Timbaland's frightening near-death experience: "There was a light"

Timbaland is an ingenious producer who, with his fantastic ear, produced some of hip-hop’s most iconic tracks. From Missy Elliott’s ‘Work It’ to Nelly Furtado’s ‘Promiscuous,’ the Virginia native (real name Timothy Mosley) made an indelible mark on the culture.

As a 51-year-old man who has stepped out of the limelight, the beatmaker (real name Timothy Mosley) is now at the stage of his career where he can relax and, most importantly, reflect on his rollercoaster industry journey.

As a star of the late 1990s and 2000s, in the 2010s, Mosley fell into a bit of a hole concerning his career and only found success after producing Beyoncé’s 2013 self-titled LP. In a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Timbaland spoke about his career lull. 

Speaking about how he felt after his peak in the 2000s, Mosley explained, “I felt like I wasn’t committed. I was riding off ego. It was really about me neglecting my gift. As a producer and a soundmaker, I had to find out what God had in store for me.”

In 2017, Timbaland was in the process of producing and recording Justin Timberlake’s fifth studio album, Man of the Woods, which he performed at the Super Bowl LII halftime show in 2018.

During this period, the Virginia legend also collaborated with the likes of Young Thug and Ty Dolla $ign. Furthermore, he hit the studio with Jay-Z, Zayn Malik, Chris Martin, Wiz Khalifa and Zac Brown. When asked by Rolling Stone where his sudden burst of creativity came from, Mosley explained, “I was on drugs, dude. I was on OxyContin.”

As he entered his thirties, Mosley began taking medication for nerve damage he acquired from a gunshot wound he suffered as a teenager. However, as his success began to wane, his drug intake increased, his chart success declined, and he entered a vicious cycle which could have lost him a lot of money.

Speaking about the insecurities that can arise when you feel your days of musical success are behind you, Mosley detailed,  “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. I remember Jay-Z told me one time, ‘Don’t do no more interviews’ – because I was saying crazy shit.”

His now-girlfriend, Michelle, even recalled the feeling that the producer was going to die as a result of his drug use. Speaking about her constant need to check if Timbo was still alive, Michelle explained, “It was so bad, to the point where I couldn’t even sleep. I’d put my hand right by his nose, just to see if he was still breathing.” In 2014, Mosley eventually suffered from an overdose.

Reliving the near-death experience, Mosley disclosed, “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 eventually managed to become sober. However, it was a close call for the legend, who nearly found himself becoming another hip-hop icon lost to drugs. You can hear the beatmaker speaking about his experience with narcotics on Club Shay Shay in the video below.