Will.i.am Says “I Am Hip Hop”

When asked in a recent interview with VIBE to respond to the hits he and the Black Eyed Peas have taken “for not being ‘real’ Hip Hop”, globally successful producer will.i.am gives a confident response on his role and relevance in Hip Hop, with some interesting views on the media’s role in defining and limiting public perception of Hip Hop:

“I am hip-hop! If there’s anyone that’s the personification of hip-hop, I’m probably the most hip-hop nigga out of all these hip-hop niggas. But hip-hop editorial and blogs and even some of the hip-hop fans don’t see it that way, which is cool. I’m going to win.

“I’m going to win and win bigger than all these niggas are winning. And they probably don’t see that. I’m winning regardless of what hip-hop thinks of what I am. I won’t shrivel up in a little ball and not continue to rock, rock planet rock, don’t stop just because a few people think the [Black Eyed Peas] is just a pop act.

“I [always] knew I was going to move more into dance and club. That’s the reason I produced Nas’ “Hip Hop Is Dead.” People forgot that hip-hop was a bunch of things back in the days. Hip-hop was the Jungle Brothers’ “I’ll House You.” When someone is denying what they are, then that’s when things start to spiral down. Hip-hop is limiting itself and that also goes for editorially. Magazines and websites are the gatekeepers of what people think hip-hop is, but they actually end up limiting what hip-hop can be.

“I don’t need anyone to validate me. I am hip-hop.”


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