The measurement of success differs from one person to the next. We assume someone is successful by their awards and net worth. For entertainers, the same isn’t always true. Black Eyed Peas lead rapper Will.i.am certainly doesn’t equate his success to the several awards or millions dollars he deposits into his bank account. The Black Eyed Peas’ hit song “RITMO” featuring J Balvin even made it onto the Billboard Hot 100. Will.i.am and his long-time band have had several hit songs and won multiple awards. Despite all that material success though, the one thing Will.i.am hasn’t achieved is black cred.
Black Eyed Peas Deserve Black Cred
For as long as anyone can remember, Black Eyed Peas has released track after track. The alternative hip-hop group first released their debut album Behind The Front back in 1998. The album featured some notable artists like the great Macy Gray. However, it didn’t attract millions of listeners like their 2002 album Elephunk. Everyone remembers the international hit tracks “Where Is The Love?” and “Let’s Get It Started.” Unfortunately, Will.i.am feels that because of the international success of those songs and others, his group isn’t recognized as a “Black Group.”
The platinum recording artist further discussed his frustration over the lack of black cred to his good friend Wyclef Jean during his Run That Back podcast. “. . . Which is not good for the black community that Black Eyed Peas is not looked at as a black group because we had international success. That should be credited to the black community,” Will.i.am told Wyclef Jean during the virtual interview. The rapper believes that his band’s success should be viewed as an accomplishment, not just for him but also the black community. It’s true that Black Eyed Peas is only one of the few urban groups to reach international success. Their music differs greatly from the rap music scene today, but it shouldn’t be disregarded from the black community altogether.
Music Genres That Lost Their Black Roots
Will.i.am addressed another glaring issue happening in the music industry. The Black Eyed Peas rapper claims that other entertainers who’ve committed “crossover success” led some music genres to lose their black cred. “A lot of the things that we create and we invent, we dispose of or it gets stolen from us to the point where it’s no association to its origins,” Will.i.am candidly explains to Wyclef Jean on his podcast. The artist makes a valid point. Music genres like Country and Rock-N-Roll have lost their ties to the black community.
What do you think? Are we loosing our culture through music? Do you recognize Black Eyed Peas as a ‘Black Group’?