“It’s over-exaggerating and calling a crackhead a zombie!” pipes in will.i.am. “If you live in inner cities, you know there’s feuding between gangs over turf, selling drugs and how they get their weapons, so we took that reality and threw in conspiracy theories about who brought the drugs and weapons into our community, what’s the reason behind it and why urban culture is always under the thumb of some oppression.”
The world of gangs is something both will.i.am and Taboo are well aware of, having grown up in the rough neighborhood of Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles.
“I grew up in the projects, so I had the most exposure you could possibly have,” will.i.am says. “There are four types of kids in the projects, or in the ghetto -- you’re the gangbanger to survive, you’re the athlete, you’re the rapper trying to look up to the gangbanger, or you’re kept safe because you’re the church boy and you play music in church. That’s it. Very rarely is there the scholar. Those are the four ways to get out.”
Music helped will.i.am find his way out, and in addition to worldwide success with the Black Eyed Peas, he has released four solo albums, starred in films like X-Men Origins: Wolverine, ventured into fashion and worked with artists such as Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and David Guetta.
And fans can rest assured that the group (who recently played the Summer Sonic Festival in Japan with Fergie) is also working on new music. A soundtrack component for the novel is in the works and will.i.am confirms a tour is also coming up. “We’re hip-hop storytellers now. It’s kind of nuts,” will.i.am says. “We’re going to tour in a very, very, very innovative way. I’m not talking holograms, we’re going to tour physically, but the tech that we bring is going to be fresh!”