will.i.am – #willpower album review

After spending quite a while in music limbo, it looked as if will.i.am’s fourth studio album would never see a release date. And after almost 2 years of perpetual delay, a title transformation, and a plethora of creative changes, #willpower has finally hit the airwaves, much to the chagrin of you commercial pop haters.

If you take a moment to look at it intellectually, the hash tagged title almost mirrors the technological era and digital space that has enabled our self-absorption and instilled in us this sense of false omnipotence. Raise your hand if you think will.i.am considered this. The answer is probably not. The album unwittingly serves as an overstated representation of the futuristic and digital manifested into a musical compilation that will.i.am almost transparently assumes he knows what people will like because…. he’s will.i.am. And although it’s probably not the best thing to look for depth in a pop album, but this project almost reeks of conceit and will.i.am’s attempt to bank on his reputation (and on others’) alone.

#willpower is a pretty decent model for the dance club and very adequately fits the framework expected of a major pop artist. Ironically, after failing to garner commercial success to date (selling a dismal 29,000 units in the first week), most of its 18 tracks have the potential to chart. What gnaws at you is that with this album, will.i.am was clearly looking for hits and not art. The most obvious example is the oblique choice of features— because, really, besides the fact that they’re all relatively trending topics (pun intended), what do Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Juicy J., and Chris Brown seriously have in common? Unfortunately, this kind of inauthentic approach to relevance will hardly put this album on the radar.

I think we know by now that will.i.am’s signature auto-tuned vocals aren’t going away anytime soon. Each track is laden with at least a touch of the electro-bass and synth-pop sound, with the occasional boom-bat. “#thatPOWER” may be one of the album’s biggest hits, but the album includes a few hidden gems that sound so much better, most notably, the first track “Good Morning.” It has beautiful instrumentation and feels airy and pleasant in contrast to the others. It’s surprisingly introspective, though after this, the album quite abruptly takes a turn from the deep to the superficial. The production is fun and the high energy is expected. But the painfully repetitive lyrics and song arrangements will give you an anxiety attack if you attempt to listen to any one song straight through.

Somehow #willpower still sounds like a cohesive body of work, but there are absolutely no layers behind the flowery idea of digitization and revolutionized pop. Furthermore, this work isn’t any more progressive than what Afrojack or Swedish House Mafia has done within the last couple of years. It’s fun, but easily forgettable. But we’re still here for “Scream and Shout” whenever we hear “It’s Britney, bitch.”

FALLIN’ UP My Story by Taboo with Steve Dennis

FALLIN’ UP My Story by Taboo with Steve Dennis

“I’ve seen a talented, sensitive, lost young boy become a strong man with integrity and dignity. Fallin’ Up will give you an inside look at the life of this inspiring individual.” —Fergie

“In this rags-to-riches tale of a pop star eager to impart the lessons he’s learned along the way, his message is, simply, ‘Dream it. Keep it on the positive’…Taboo’s story will resonate for readers seeking encouragement to follow their dreams.” — Library Journal

Taboo is a founding member of the six-time Grammy Award-winning group The Black Eyed Peas. A Mexican-American with Shoshone blood on his mother’s side, Jaime Luis Gomez defied expectations early on—first by rejecting the limitations imposed on him by society, then by staying true to his dream of becoming a star. In FALLIN’ UP: My Story (Touchstone Hardcover/Simon & Schuster; February 8, 2011; $24.99; ISBN: 978-1-4391-9206-1), he tells the riveting story of his journey from the drug crime-ridden neighborhoods of L.A. to the packed performance sites around the world.

During a childhood spent moving between el barrio and the mixed-race community where his beloved grandmother lived, Taboo fell under the spell of the Spanish music his grandmother adored while at the same time embracing the pulse of hip hop. By the time he entered his teens, Taboo was an agile break dancer; he’d perfected all the floating, gliding, and sliding moves through hours of dedicated practice. In the Mexican-American community of Rosemead, where he eventually settled with his mother and stepfather, “no one…had ever heard of a Mexican b-boy. I was a hip-hop kid in a community where there was no such thing as hip-hop kids.” Taboo, the tag he first used when doodling in school, represented the path he was forging for himself—“Off-limits. Unspeakable. Something forbidden. Something non-conformist.”

Taboo built his skills—and his street cred—at hip-hop venues throughout L.A. It was at a hip-hop club that he first saw will.i.am, “an eccentric-looking black kid rapping like a madman” and apl.de.ap, “a Filipino dude dancing better than I had ever seen anyone dance…” In 1995, the three came together as The Black Eyed Peas, and right from the start, the group stood out: “[We] didn’t subscribe to lyrics about crack dens and AK-47. We were…promoting more feel good, progressive hip-hop. We were about braggadocious hope, not braggadocious violence.”

As he traces the rise of The Black Eyed Peas, Taboo reveals the inner workings of the music business during the 1990s and 2000s. He introduces a host of well-known performers, from Flavor Flav, Eminem, and Gwen Stefani, to Sting, the Rolling Stones, U2 and the great James Brown. He brings to life the exhilaration of performing for audiences throughout the world and the overwhelming exhaustion of spending months on tour, far from home and family. He writes about the Peas’ first encounter with Stacy Ferguson and discusses with wit and insight her unique contributions to the popularity of the group. His description of the evolution of The Black Eyed Peas offer an unprecedented look at the shaping of their style as they stepped outside their hip-hop foundation and integrated elements from different musical traditions to create a sound all their own.

Behind the stories of Grammy Awards, platinum albums, sold-out concerts and other moments of triumph recorded in FALLIN’ UP, Taboo tells another, darker tale. He writes about his long neglect of the son he had at eighteen; Jaymie Dizon, the woman who eventually became his wife and the mother of his second son; and the addictions to drugs and alcohol that almost ended his career. In detailed accounts of his missteps and mistakes, including drunken episodes during and after concerts, he shines an unforgiving light on himself and recalls with love and thanks the critical support he received from Jaymie, his friends and family, and his fellow-band members when he finally decided to turn his life around.

On June 10, 2010 The Black Eyed Peas performed at the World Cup Kick-Off Celebration concert in South Africa; their latest album, “The Beginning,” was released in November 2010. They—and their millions of followers—are anticipating another triumph when the group appears during the halftime show at the Super Bowl on February 6, 2011. FALLIN’ UP provides the first inside look at the making of the band, is must-reading for fans old and new.

About the Author:

Taboo—a.k.a Jaime Gomez—is an MC, actor, singer, dancer, footwear designer, Taboo Deltah, for Foot Action stores and founding member of The Black Eyed Peas. He is also a husband and father of two and lives in Los Angeles with his family.

Intel Teams with will.i.am, Black Eyed Peas Front Man

Intel Teams with will.i.am, Black Eyed Peas Front Man

ANAHEIM, Calif. – He’s best known for being a multi-platinum music artist, producer and front man for The Black Eyed Peas, but will.i.am is also an innovator, technology fan, entrepreneur and philanthropist. With today’s announcement at the Anaheim Convention Center, the seven-time Grammy winner has added another title to his multi-faceted resume: “director of creative innovation.”

As an extension of his insatiable fascination with technology, which plays a significant role in his professional and personal lives, will.i.am will engage in a multi-year, hands-on creative and technology collaboration with Intel Corporation. He already sports an Intel ID badge, which he proudly showed off at a news conference in Anaheim, where Intel is holding an internal sales and marketing conference.

“Nearly everything I do involves processors and computers, and when I see an Intel chip I think of all the creative minds involved that help to amplify my own creativity,” said will.i.am. “Teaming up with the scientists, researchers and computer programmers at Intel to collaborate and co-develop new ways to communicate, create, inform and entertain is going to be amazing.”

Added Deborah Conrad, Intel vice president and chief marketing officer: “We’re thrilled to tap into the limitless creativity will.i.am brings to the table. He’s not only a brilliant artist and producer, but also an innovator pushing the bounds of technology professionally and personally. We share a strong interest in innovation around music, art and lifestyle, and are excited to join forces to establish an authentic, emotional connection with consumers.”

The relationship ties in with Intel’s “compute continuum” vision, in which more and more devices will compute and connect to the Internet, and the company’s “visual life” initiative that explores how visual experiences such as photos, videos and movies are redefining the relationship consumers have with laptops, smart phones, tablets and other devices.

In his unique role, will.i.am will collaborate with Intel on many creative and technology endeavors across the “compute continuum” that may include such devices as laptops, smart phones and tablets. Complementing his visionary role as the front man for The Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am is also already working on music expressly for Intel.

Specifics haven’t been disclosed, but Conrad said that the partnership between will.i.am and Intel is the marrying of two worlds — entertainment and technology — in order to create what she calls “the ultimate experience.”

“Intel is in the midst of transforming the way we communicate with people,” Conrad said. “Our partnership with will.i.am is a prime example of how we want to convey and deliver the Intel experience. It’s imperative that Intel and our innovations are kept in front of the global youth culture that embraces new devices and new forms of communication and entertainment.”

THE BLACK EYED PEAS DEBUT IN WORLD’S FIRST 360-DEGREE MOBILE MUSIC VIDEO CREATED BY will.i.apps

THE BLACK EYED PEAS DEBUT IN WORLD’S FIRST 360-DEGREE MOBILE MUSIC VIDEO CREATED BY will.i.apps

New ‘BEP360’ App for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch Takes Fans Inside “The Time (Dirty Bit)” with 360-Degree Motion Control and Augmented Reality Developed by Peas Front Man will.i.am

Music industry pioneer and front man of The Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am, today announced the iTunes App Store launch of BEP360, an iPad, iPhone and iPod touch app that immerses fans in a 360 degree universe of the legendary music group. Featuring the world’s first 360-degree view music video (“The Time 360”), BEP360 features the song “The Time (Dirty Bit),” the first single from new CD, “The Beginning”, now available on Interscope Records.

BEP360 is the first release from will.i.apps, will.i.am’s new digital media production entity dedicated to pioneering and producing application-based entertainment experiences. BEP360 is the first in a line of upcoming applications that will converge the worlds of creativity, music and advanced digital technologies.

Thirty years after the first music video aired on MTV, the will.i.apps team has reinvented how fans can be further immersed in the world of their favorite artists by pointing and swinging an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad around a 360-degree axis that then changes the point of view. An entirely new form of music video, BEP360 uses digital teleportation to take fans deeper inside the world of The Black Eyed Peas. A demo of BEP360 app featuring The Black Eyed Peas and the making-of behind the scenes video can be seen at williapps.com.

“will.i.apps and the BEP360 app have been established to help artists tap into the potential of our hyper-connected mobile world and bring fans deeper inside the music far beyond a four minute audio recording. It’s a unique and completely new way to experience 360 degree music immersion that will bring artists and fans closer together,” said will.i.am.

Key Features of BEP360

• Point iPad, iPhone and iPod touch device at the cover artwork of the band’s latest album, The Beginning (Interscope Records) and watch augmented reality take form with BEP avatars dancing to the beat
• Direct a virtual photo session with Fergie, will.i.am, apl.de.ap & Taboo allowing users to capture their own shots and share them.
• Stay up to date on everything about the Peas via an aggregated Twitter feed
• Play an addictive Peas-inspired puzzle game
• View pictures and comments posted by other BEP360 app users on a virtual earth

The BEP360 app is available for $2.99 from the App Store on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad

will.i.apps partnered with Metaio to facilitate the cutting edge augmented reality experience bringing the Peas into the fans world. 3D360, the technology leader in 3D360 video was also part of the team that pioneered this ground breaking platform allowing capture, and then play back of the unique 360 degree video. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to allow fans to get closer to The Black Eyed Peas and realize will.i.am’s vision of the first mobile 3D360 music video,” commented 3D360 CEO Myles McGovern.

About will.i.apps

will.i.apps is a digital media company focused on delivering ground- breaking entertainment applications for mobile devices. Co-founded by music industry pioneer, producer and The Black Eyed Peas front man will.i.am and Edo Segal of Futurity Ventures, a New York-based Innovation Engine, will.i.apps partners with leading artists to bring their creative universes to life by embracing the power of mobile apps. Fans can also visit www.blackeyedpeas.com/apps to learn about future BEP360 apps.

MYSPACE TAKEN OVER BY THE BLACK EYED PEAS

MYSPACE TAKEN OVER BY THE BLACK EYED PEAS

Site Goes Retro with “8-bit” Style Transformation; Fan Wins “The Time of Their Life”

Six-time Grammy award-winning, multi-platinum recording artists The Black Eyes Peas bring their creative talents together to take control of Myspace, the social entertainment site that helped launched their careers back in 2005 with their first album premiere. Starting today, the band will be the first artists to curate the site as part of “Hijacks,” the latest original program where talent takes control of new Myspace for three days and reveal how they would program the site if they were in charge, premiering exclusive content and providing interesting opportunities for the network of 120 million people.

The band’s November 30th album title, The Beginning “…is symbolic of adopting new technologies, such as augmented reality, 3D, and 360 video,” says will.i.am. The Peas will create that same beginning for the new Myspace, transforming the site into their own “8-bit” version, which is the style of retro video that helped inspire their recent material.

“We’re psyched to be the first group to take over the new Myspace,” comments will.i.am. “As artists we’re always looking for new ways to reach our fans all over the world and this hijack is allowing us to use our imagination, bringing our creative vision from our new album to the world of Myspace

will.i.am Provides Insight On BEP’s New Album, Balancing Positivity & Partying, And Obama

will.i.am Provides Insight On BEP’s New Album, Balancing Positivity & Partying, And Obama

Steven Shehori: So right out of the gate, what sort of thematic relationship does The Beginning have with 2009’s The E.N.D.? Obviously the names play off each other.

will.i.am: I’d say it’s a continuation of some of the positivity. For example, if someone’s having a bad week, a bad month, a bad year, and they say to you, “You know Steve, I’m tired of this. I’m going to change, and I’m going to start right now. I’ve got a feeling tonight’s gonna be a good night.” And the next morning you say, “Hey, how was it?” And he or she is going to say, “You know, I had the time of my life.” So yeah, there’s a lyrical correlation. It’s about keeping it moving and staying positive.

Read the whole interview on HuffingtonPost.com

Black Eyed Peas “The Time (Dirty Bit)” OFFICIAL VIDEO

Watch BEP in all their 8-bit glory as they take it back to the days of Nintendo for the online-only “Do It Like This” Video

Watch BEP in all their 8-bit glory as they take it back to the days of Nintendo for the online-only “Do It Like This” Video

Black Eyed Peas – “Do It Like This” (Preview Video)

As part of the Black Eyed Peas countdown to THE BEGINNING Nov 30th, they’re releasing a new track from the album every week on iTunes! Click to download “Do It Like This” today – a track will.i.am says has a beat that is “harder than any attitude… It goes to a place no hip-hopper would go to right now.”

Download it now on iTunes and check back next week for the final single before THE BEGINNING!
The official lead single from The Beginning – “The Time (Dirty Bit)”:

Black Eyed Peas
The Beginning – Available November 30
Interscope Records
DipDive.com

THE BLACK EYED PEAS TO RELEASE BRAND-NEW ALBUM — THE BEGINNING — ON NOVEMBER 30TH, 2010

FIRST SINGLE FROM THE BEGINNING, “The Time (Dirty Bit),” AVAILABLE FROM ALL DIGITAL RETAILERS ON NOVEMBER 9TH

ALBUM IS THE FOLLOW-UP TO GRAMMY AWARD WINNING CD THE E.N.D.

(Santa Monica, CA) — Six-time Grammy award-winning, multi-platinum recording artists The Black Eyes Peas have announced that they will release a brand-new album, entitled The Beginning, on November 30th, 2010, on Interscope Records.

The Black Eyed Peas’ sixth album, The Beginning is the follow-up to the group’s blockbuster cd The E.N.D. Released in June 2009, The E.N.D. has sold more than 11 million copies world wide, while spending 52 weeks on the Billboard Top 200 chart. It is also the first album in two decades by a duo or group to yield five Top 10 songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, including the No. 1 hits “Boom Boom Pow,” “I Gotta Feeling” (which is the best-selling digital song in SoundScan history), and “Imma Be,” as well as the Top 10’s “Meet Me Halfway” and “Rock That Body.” In addition, The E.N.D. was nominated for six 2010 Grammy Awards and won for Best Pop Vocal Album, “Boom Boom Pow” won Best Short Form Music Video and “I Gotta Feeling” won for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group.

While the title of The E.N.D. was a play on words (standing for “The Energy Never Dies”), the new album’s title, The Beginning, “refers to what is actually happening in the world right now,” says will.i.am. “The Beginning is symbolic of adopting new technologies, such as augmented reality, 3D, and 360 video. It’s also about being experimental and taking songs we’ve liked from the past and playing around with sick, crazy beats.”

In keeping with that manifesto, the first single from The Beginning is “The Time (Dirty Bit),” which is built around a sample from the classic 1987 theme from Dirty Dancing, (“I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” recorded by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. “The song is a celebration of this amazing time in our lives,” says vocalist Fergie. “We’ve been on tour all over the world, and looking out at stadiums full of people who came out to see us — that’s as big as it gets. After the shows, we go out to the clubs and meet the fans; those are moments that we have to remember.” “Plus the fact that we get to experience it with each other,” adds vocalist apl.de.ap, “that’s the best feeling ever.”

“You never know what’s going to happen, so you want to make the best of every day,” says will.i.am. “We wanted to capture that feeling and release a song that celebrates with the fans because it wouldn’t have happened without them.” This album is the beginning of a new era of Pea world domination — fasten your seat belts pea-ple enjoy the ride, declares Taboo.

The Black Eyed Peas have shot a video for “The Time (Dirty Bit),” with director Rich Lee, who also lensed the Peas’ “Imma Be Rocking That Body” video, as well as clips for Eminem (“Not Afraid”), The All-American Rejects (“The Wind Blows”), Fergie (“Clumsy”), and the Pussycat Dolls (“Hush Hush”).

The Beginning will be released in several physical formats – a standard CD, a deluxe CD that includes 3 bonus songs, a full album vinyl and a combo two-disc set of 20 songs that includes The Beginning & The Best of THE E.N.D. – and digitally at all online retailers.

The Black Eyed Peas are currently on the road on their Blackberry Presents “The E.N.D. World Tour 2010,” which culminates this fall with shows in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Peru after extensive North American and European legs over the past year. The New York Times described the tour as “pop’s latest sci-fi spectacle,” while Spin.com raved “they push the boundaries of what it means to be one of the top-selling acts in music today” and the New York Post declares a “visually stunning production.”

The E.N.D. was The Black Eyed Peas first original music since 2005’s Monkey Business, which was certified triple platinum in the U.S., with worldwide sales of more than nine million. Monkey Business generated Grammy Awards over two consecutive years, for “Don’t Phunk with My Heart” and “My Humps.” The Peas’ first Grammy Award came six years ago, for “Let’s Get It Started,” from their breakthrough 2003 album Elephunk, which introduced Fergie into the lineup, and transformed the group into interna tional superstars with cumulative 25x platinum sales in nearly a dozen countries around the world. In 2006, Fergie released her six-million-selling solo debut The Dutchess and 2007 Producer of the Year Grammy-nominee will.i.am released Songs About Girls. Since forming in 1995, The Black Eyed Peas have sold more than 28 million albums worldwide and more than 30.8 million digital tracks. In addition, they have logged more than 300 headline tour dates in 29 countries with more than 2.2 million tickets sold. The group has been nominated for a 2010 American Music Award in the Favorite Band, Duo or Group category.