Interview with Taboo, one of the components of ‘Black Eyed Peas’: “It would be a dream for us to collaborate with Rosalía and Bad Bunny”

  • We spoke with the Black Eyed Peas member about the great moment in Latin music and he assures us that he would love to collaborate with Rosalía

  • The song ‘Don’t you worry’, in which they collaborate with Shakira and David Guetta, is the first preview of the group’s next album

It seemed not, but in the end black Eyed Peas they survived Fergie’s departure. On their return just before the pandemic they began to experience an unexpected resurrection, and after the hits of ‘A girl like me’ with Shakira or ‘Ritmo’ with J Balvin, this year they are playing again in all the clubs with ‘Don’ don’t you worry’. The song, in which they collaborate with Shakira and David Guetta, is the first preview of their next album, and in ‘Yasss’ we wanted to take the opportunity to chat with Taboo, one of its members, to see if we can advance something.

We have also talked with him about the great moment in Latin music, the activism that he and his buddy carry with their indigenous and Filipino roots, the anthem that is still ‘I Gotta Feeling’, or his I work for Marvel! If the latter has surprised you, get ready because we also have surprises: we ask about Spanish artists and he took C. Tangana or Rosalía out of us

How was that decision to dive into Latin roots for ‘TRANSLATION’ in 2020, featuring songs in Spanish and collaborations with Latin artists?

As a Mexican and Native American, I am very proud to represent the Latin community, especially since we grew up in Los Angeles with a lot of inspiration from Latin artists like Juan Gabriel or Celia Cruz, so all those rhythms are part of our Black Eyed Peas history, and on our first albums before ‘Where is the love’ there are a lot of samples of Brazilian songs, for example.

We worked with artists like Juanes in 2007, Will.I.Am produced for Daddy Yankee in 2003, we worked with Paulina Rubio or Joan Sebastian, and all this was before ‘TRANSLATION’, so that connection already existed and doing this was something organic, natural. We have a lot of respect and friendship with Latin artists, and Latin Americans in South America supported us before singing in Spanish. We went around the world, we sang songs in English and they supported us, and now we wanted to pay homage to celebrate Latin culture, artists like J Balvin, Ozuna, Maluma, Piso 21, Nicky Jam or our sister Shakira. It was special for us to focus on a Black Eyed Peas rhythm but Spanish language and Latin artists.

‘DON’T YOU WORRY’ is the last song you’ve released. I understand that it’s not part of a ‘TRANSLATION’ deluxe, but it would be a preview of the next album, right?

Yes, it’s real, the idea is to release the album this year. ‘DON’T YOU WORRY’ is like a continuation of ‘I Gotta Feeling’, because we work with Guetta again, the atmosphere, the theme, the nostalgia of ‘I Gotta Feeling’ is what you feel here, and it also seemed to us very special that this was the first time that Guetta and Shakira worked together. It was a recipe for nostalgia, good vibes, much needed by the pandemic, the theme at the end is that: everything will be fine, don’t worry… we wanted to convey that to everyone.

And also the video is like a movie; we are fans of movies like ‘ET’, ‘Third Kind Encounters’, ‘Alien’ or ‘Stranger Things’, so we wanted to do something cinematic, epic, something that grabs people when they see it. We wanted the same impact visually as musically. Also, to make the video clip it was the first time that we were with Shakira in the same room, because ‘A girl like me’ was during the pandemic and was recorded remotely.

‘I Gotta Feeling’ has certainly become an anthem of a particular generation that lived through their teens or college years with you, and is certainly very representative of the sound and spirit of the early 10s, even if it came out a bit earlier. What do you think he has to have become that monster? On Spotify it’s your song with the most listeners…

Well, right now what we’re celebrating is ‘RITMO’, which has reached a billion views on YouTube. Neither the video for ‘I gotta feeling’ nor the one for ‘Where is the love’ have a billion views, bro. For us it is incredible, because keep in mind that we started in 1998, and it was a completely different time: today, if you have views on YouTube, that means success. Before it was the CDs or the tapes that you sold. So to see now how a song we put out in 2019 is kicking ‘I Gotta Feeling’ ass in numbers… that’s pretty big. Many thanks to those who have seen the video for ‘RITMO’.

As for what you’re asking about ‘I Gotta Feeling’… it’s a song with a vibe very similar to Kool & The Gang’s ‘Celebration’, a “feel-good song”, a song that automatically makes you you will feel better, at least for a few minutes, and that takes us to an era in which we did not have as many problems as now and even, as in the case you mention, people who were still in school or leaving high school. They are older now and play that song at weddings, at parties, at sports… the impact of ‘I Gotta Feeling’ will always be with us.

Do you have in mind the second single from the album after ‘Don´t you worry’? Or any collaboration, something that can be said?

Right now it’s all a big secret, we don’t have a date but we’re finishing it, and taking last minute collaborations. We want this album to have an international impact but also to hit the Anglo-Saxon market, because we also want to connect with our audience in the United States, to return to that impact we had in 2009.

It would be a dream for us to collaborate with Bad Bunny and Rosalía

I don’t know if you can say it if it’s true, but… among the collaborations have you thought about Bad Bunny or Rosalía?

It would be a dream for us to collaborate with Bad Bunny and Rosalía. I can tell you a person with whom I want to collaborate, he is not a musician per se, but he is an icon in movies: I want to do something with my brother, the Mexican Guillermo del Toro. He is a person who inspires me a lot, hopefully one day we can make a movie together or some kind of project where we can put fantasy, science fiction, monsters, everything that I love… I’m very nerdy, uncle.

Now that you mention that, I wanted to ask you about your work for Marvel.

Wow, man, I love it, I’ve been writing for Marvel for three years, we’ve already released three comics, the first was ‘Werewolf by Night’, which has been released on Disney+, and soon we will release ‘Deadly Neighborhood Spiderman’. This is also like a dream, because I am a big fan of Marvel and now I am working for them, also as an indigenous voice, to also represent indigenous voices within superheroes in the mainstream. Now we can have a voice and connect these indigenous stories all over the world, while using Marvel as a platform.

It is a historic moment for Latin music. Precisely Anitta has managed to be the first Brazilian artist to reach the top of the charts, the Bizarrap session with Quevedo is also breaking records, Bad Bunny is probably the most successful artist in the world… do you also have that feeling of living a historic moment for Latin music?

Yeah man, it’s amazing. I’m a fan of all of them, and also what El Alfa, J Balvin, my brother Residente, my brother Farruko are doing… I have a lot of love and respect for all of them. Well, or Becky G, who’s also from Los Angeles, she’s pocha like me. I love what’s going on in the Latin scene, it’s very active right now and we have a lot of heroes, artists that inspire me.

Or actors, like Tenoch Huerta, who is in the new ‘Black Panther’, he is an indigenous Mexican brother, and for me it is a pride for me to also represent the indigenous on the side of my grandmother. Latin blood is having a brutal impact not only in music, but also in movies, on television… it’s incredible.

Going to the Spanish scene, and knowing that you were recently in Coruña, that you have lived in Barcelona… are there Spanish artists that you particularly like?

I love Raito, he’s a producer who lives in Spain, also C. Tangana, the rapper Tangana… I like them a lot, but it’s true that I would like to learn more about Spanish folklore in music, not just pop or the urban, but the tango, for example. I would like to learn about older Spanish music, because I am a student and I love to study and learn, I love to learn about the past, the next time I go to Spain I want to soak up the culture and music of the past.

I would like to know more about flamenco, because I also love the dance, the passion, the history that the Spaniards represent when they dance… the beauty of the woman and the man who are connecting while they dance, all of that is very special to me as dancer.

A video(1) of yours recorded in A Coruña recently went viral, what can you tell us about it?

That was a tribute to my brother, because what he does for his community as a human, not just an artist, is great. That song is a song that he made representing his roots, so he wanted to pay him that tribute, I wanted to thank him for that song.

When he sings that song in our shows, I come up and want to dance, the rhythm is very catchy, so that video was my way of thanking him, and congratulating him on the work he does for his people. I also released another video later, also recorded in Coruña, near the bay and dancing to ‘Explosion’, the featuring we have with Anitta.

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Interview with Taboo, one of the components of ‘Black Eyed Peas’: “It would be a dream for us to collaborate with Rosalía and Bad Bunny”

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