Timbaland says he owes his success to humility

Success looks like: being humble, just enjoying the blessings as they come and just never changing your M.O.” – Timbaland on his definition of success

In the hip-hop game for more than twenty years, super producer Timbaland has had a lot of ups and downs in his career. Due to being shot in the arm as a teenager, he would develop a pain killer addiction in his adult years for the nagging pain from the injury. This would halt his music career for a bit, but now Timbo has found new life and is looking to make a mark yet again. For that he says he thanks God…and not letting his success get to his head.

Sitting down with Noah Callahan-Bever from Complex for their Blueprint series, Timbaland partook in an in-depth conversation about his life and career. He mentioned the key to his success, even early on in his career, was not knowing when he had a made a hit. That’s saying something considering the man is known for his unique sound and out-of-this-world beats. He believes going with the flow of things makes for a much better end result when it comes to crafting melodies, even when others might be telling you otherwise.

“The beauty of a hit is not knowing it’s a hit, but you know it feels good,” said the Norfolk, Virginia native.

“Like, let it be. That’s what got me to this point because I let it be; I know it was a feeling like when I did [Justin Timberlake’s 2006 song] SexyBack, I knew it was a feeling and everybody was like ‘that ain’t it’ and I’m like ‘yes it is…that’s the one.’”

And his hunch was right. The single went platinum in over five countries and as of this writing the YouTube video has more than 140 million views. Yet even with that staggering kind of success, the man born Timothy Mosley doesn’t want to let his ego get too big because he’s done it before, and according to him, it can lead to an artist getting too full of themselves.

“No, I’m glad I don’t [know when he makes a hit record] because I used to [be like] ‘oh that’s a hit, that’s a hit’ and when you get caught up into that it’s like a spirit that comes with that and it’s like an arrogancy,” he said.

“I try to stay away from that because I got caught up into that and when you get caught up into that you just kinda like slack on your music, you slack on it and you just take it for granted. You think you’re something that you’re not.”

The full interview can be viewed below (approximately 25 minutes) and he covers a bevy of topics like coming up in the Virginia music scene with the likes of Pharrell, Missy Elliot and The Clipse, goes in-depth about his addiction and how he overcame it (editor’s note: salute to him for making it through) and why his record labels failed among other things.