will.i.am on His Levi’s Collab & Why He Isn’t Trying to Change the World

Fact: will.i.am can’t stop working. A founding member of Grammy-winning hip-hop/pop group the Black Eyed Peas, the 38-year-old multihyphenate’s growing list of titles include songwriter, entrepreneur, DJ, record producer, and philanthropist. His latest venture is EKOCYCLE—a eco-focused initiative with Coco-Cola that drives  brands to produce items made in part from recycled materials. The latest brand to jump on board is Levi’s, who crafted a limited-edition pair of 501 jeans made of plastic bottles.  

Cleverly named the WasteLess jean, the design comprises of 29% post-consumer recycled content and uses and average of eight recycled PET plastic bottles per pair. (Peep the promo video here.) This past week, Levi’s kicked off the game-changing collab with a party at LA’s Haus of Strauss showroom, hosted by the brand’s VP of Design Jonathan Kirby and Will himself. I sat down with the artist to hear more about the collab, how he tames his creativity (I mean, the dude is everywhere), and why attempting to change the world will get us nowhere. 

What is your earliest memory of recycling?
"It was actually when I was an adult, living on my own. My girlfriend said ‘we need to put the bottles and plastic in this container so we could go to Thrifty’s and turn them in.’ Then we started to collect cans and send them to the liquor store to get money. We were poor."

How did you make this partnership happen?
"I came up with the concept in 2008. In 2009, I made the deck and pitched it to Coke and all there executives in Atlanta. The concept was simple: take the word "COKE" and turn it around, so it’s "EKOC" and replace the "C" with different things that related to our society, such as ‘conscious, cycle, community, center, collaboration, consumption’ and so on. It took a few years before we turned it into something real and launched with our partners, including Levi’s." 


How do you maintain your creativity energy?
"I try to control my brain. It wants to do everything, so I have to start taming it. Because I could be, like, ‘I want to design lamps!’ and then suddenly start working on that. No, I need to cool out and focus on one thing at a time."

Whose creative energy do you admire?
"There are a few people, like Philippe Starck. He’s on another level and does a bunch of stuff. I think he’s an amazing guy. Kanye West is dope, too. I really admire a few fashion folks like Christian Louboutin and Vivienne Westwood."

Speaking of fashion, would you ever want to design your own collection?
"No, because fashion’s hard. Hats off to all the designers out there because that stuff is really, really hard. You’re thinking so far ahead knowing that it’s not forever. Like, when you’re making a song, you’re not really thinking that far. You’re thinking of right now, knowing that if you crack it right, it could be nostalgic and last forever. Fashion is not like that. It’s about how you feel at the moment, but also keeping in mind what people are going to be wearing way in advance. 

So, is that a hard no, or should we never say never?
"It’s a no, for right now. I’m enjoying my work with EKOCYCLE, which allows me to design but also focus on sustainability and global progress."

What is one thing that everyone could do to really change the world?
"We need to inspire the world rather that try to change it. Changing the world is a scary concept, actually, which is why the world stays the same. Instead, I want to inspire people to change their lives. Be a little bit more conscious about the things you buy, because we’re not. We’re not conscious of the things we buy, put in our bodies, put in our minds, and put in our homes."


Britney Spears Gets British Accent On Will.i.am’s ‘Scream And Shout’

The world may never know why American celebrities like Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, and now Britney Spears pick up British accents for no reason. 

But pick up a British accent she does: Brit Brit teamed up with Will.i.am from The Black Eyed Peas for his song Scream And Shout.

It’s club music, not put-it-on-your-iPod-music, and it’s not even particularly dance-worthy club music at that. Maybe the line "It’s Britney, bitch" that she says will get cheers, but mostly this collab is kinda forgettable.

You can listen to Scream And Shout below, via Idolator:

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

Will David Guetta Spin The Fate of R&B?

It’s hard to tell where the crowd’s flickering lighters meet the beaming LED screens strung around Randall’s Island like Christmas trees on steroids. The sun has set on the former juvenile delinquent reform school site as David Guetta steps onto the main stage for his performance at New York’s enormous electronic music event, Electric Zoo. The 35,000 dance music devotees look like a sea of neon-clad ants from up here. One thing is clear: The scene is definitely a zoo, and the 44-year-old Frenchman is its ringleader.

The show has begun. Spasmodic lights begin to flash and flicker while Star Trek-esque synths pump from the speakers. Guetta drops the opening chords of Sia’s “Titanium (Alesso Remix)” before announcing his arrival to the Big Apple this morning from Ibiza, the island that’s home to his famed Fuck Me I’m Famous party that draws the likes of will.i.am and Diddy weekly. “New York!” he drags out. “Are you ready to party?!” On cue, the break beat drops and concertgoers collectively go ape shit as Guetta dances, flails and orchestrates in the DJ booth. He neither sings, raps, chants, nor ad-libs—yet the man puts on one hell of a show.

“It always means something special to me when I play in cities like New York or Chicago or Detroit because this is where [house] music was born even though it became more of a European thing later on,” says the tall, lumbering producer/DJ from beneath a mangled mane of blonde waves and a grin so wide it teeters on goofy. The one-hour set wrapped 20 minutes ago, and he’s now lounging lithely on the black leather couch in his trailer, wearing a crisp black T-shirt with an eagle screen-printed across. The peaceful energy Guetta exudes is contagious in a way that anyone—from within a room to an arena—can feel, part of why millions flock to see him nightly across the globe.

Read the full story on VIBE.com!

Mars Curiosity Rover to Broadcast will.i.am Single

While they predicted the end of world in 2012, we don’t think the Mayans could have known that the solar system would also come to its untimely end so soon—and thanks to such seriously bad tunes.

Today NASA dropped the news that the Mars Curiosity rover will rock the solar system with the premiere of Black Eyed Peas front man will.i.am’s latest single “Reach for the Stars” tomorrow afternoon. Be prepared for a total cosmic meltdown and intergalactic gagging to ensue.

Will.i.am & Jay-Z: The New Shakespeare?

Here’s a great way to get the youngs to pay attention: Compare some boring old thing to the new hotness. Michael Boyd, the artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, might have been going out on a limb when he said Jay-Z and Will.i.am are modern day Shakespeares, but it makes for a hell of a think piece. "The closest to Shakespeare in contemporary times are rappers," Boyd told the Daily Mirror. "[They use] that extraordinary quick fire, highly-organised, very witty metrical rhyming language which is brilliant in terms of consciously addressing the whole of society."

"The reason Shakespeare is still alive is that he couldn’t help being relevant. He was trying to be relevant," he said. "He needed to explain the world around him to himself. Rap is like that too.” Continuing, Boyd specifically pointed to Jay-Z as a poet adding to the collective lexicon, just like the Bard. “Good poetics comes out of a need. They are thinking how can you say this so that it is absolutely on the button, doesn’t get you in trouble and is memorable – not just for the ­audience. Shakespeare invented a great number of words. He joined words together in new ways enriching the vocabulary and finding new ways of talking.”

When you put it that way, it makes a lot of sense. It just seems doubtful that "I Gotta Feeling" will endure the same way as Hamlet, or even Titus Andronicus. Boyd also unveiled a few other theories he’s working on: "Jehovah, the Creator: How Odd Future’s Biblical Anarchy Speaks to the New Creation"; "Paradise Boss: Springsteen’s Miltonesque Journey Through Good and Evil"; and "Twain Team: Exploring America Through Choreographed Dances to ‘Round of Applause.’" Coming to a Tumblr near you! Alas, there are no plans to stage Cam’Ron’s Killa Season in the fall.

Megaupload Shut Down by Federal Prosecutors; Swizz Beatz Unmasked as File-Sharing Site’s CEO

If you thought yesterday’s online protests of the Stop Online Piracy Act were going to deter anyone from stopping online piracy, you were definitely wrong. Just this afternoon one of the biggest file-sharing sites, Megaupload.com, has been shut down following a federal indictment that allegest the services encourages online piracy. 

The Associated Press reports:

The indictment accuses the company of costing copyright holders more than $500 million in lost revenue from pirated films and other content. The indictment was unsealed Thursday, one day after websites shut down in protest of two congressional proposals intended to thwart the online piracy of copyrighted movies and TV programs.

Before the site’s was shut down this afternoon, Megaupload made news this morning when the New York Post alleged that CEO Swizz Beatz got some of his famous friends, including Sean "Diddy" Combs, Kanye West, and Will.i.am to promote his service in a video uploaded to YouTube last month. 

But after the starry promo appeared on YouTube last month, Diddy, Kanye and Will.i.am’s label, Universal Music Group, issued a “take-down notice” to YouTube, saying the artists’ performances were unauthorized. Their individual reps followed up, sources say. Mega-Upload fired back with a lawsuit against Universal to stop it from blocking distribution of the video. A Mega rep told us: “We have never received any word that any artist has [individually] filed a take-down . . . [we have] legally binding agreements with the performers that appear in the video…"

You can check out the video below:

Not only did the New York Observer confirm this afternoon that Swizz Beatz is indeed the CEO of Megaupload, it appears that the rapper and record producer (and husband to Alicia Keys) will be facing a lot of tough legal battles in the future — including a few fights with some of the people within his industry.

Will.i.am Designs Car Because of Course He Does

Last night, the Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and debuted his newest venture: a car company. Rap-Up brings our attention to Mr. i.am’s project, which he has dubbed “IAMAUTO.” In related news, fellow Black Eyed Peas band member Taboo just had his credit approved for a new lease on a Kia Optima.

Will.i.am has become a successful musician, a creative force at Intel, a hologram, and now an auto executive. This is a testament to the American dream: If you put your mind to it and create bland, inoffensive pop music, you can achieve anything.

The IAMAUTO looks like if a DeLorean and a blow dryer had sex. The car may be off aesthetically, but will.i.am’s heart is in the right place — he wants to produce the car in the rough East Los Angeles neighborhood where he grew up. “I’m a big technology freak and a geek and I invested my money in building my own vehicle ’cause I want to bring jobs to the ghetto that I come from,” he told Leno. “I invested in making a demo to start the Black Eyed Peas, now I want to invest to have a car company in the neighborhood where I come from.”

The IAMAUTO uses Chrysler parts and has a Beats by Dr. Dre sound system. Unfortunately, that aforementioned sound system is capable of playing Black Eyed Peas songs.

‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’ Performers Announced, Aren’t Very Rockin’

For the past four decades, on every New Year’s Eve, Dick Clark has emerged from his bioform preservation chamber at the center of the Earth to host ABC’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. The program is a cultural mainstay, and must-see TV for shut-ins and people in hospitals recovering from failed holiday suicide attempts. Entertainment Weekly got their hands on this year’s list of performers, and we’re starting to think ABC is taking liberties with the term “Rockin’.”

Performing at the Times Square studio before and after the ball drops will be Florence + the Machine, Nicki Minaj, LMFAO, The Band Perry, blink-182, OneRepublic, Gym Class Heroes, Taio Cruz, Will.i.am and Christina Perri. Sure, Nicki Minaj is cool, and Florence + the Machine are the best band on Anthropologie’s store-wide soundtrack, but the rest is a hodgepodge of crap, ‘90s throwback pop-punk, and more crap.

Ryan Seacrest, Jenny McCarthy, and Fergie will be co-hosting. Happy New Year, we guess?

Morning Links: Bloomberg Upset by Diddy’s NYPD Escort, Lindsay Lohan Blames Mercury for Her Woes

● Mayor Bloomberg wasn’t pleased to hear that the NYPD provided Diddy with a police escort to his New Jersey afterparty last week. Diddy’s people claim that the mogul “was stuck,” and the apparently well-connected dry cleaner who arranged for the special ride says it “all happened last-minute.” [NYP] ● Video game company Gate Five is suing “diva grinch” Beyonce for $100 million for pulling out of a dance game, causing the company to lay off 70 employees a week before Christmas. [Page Six] ● Gwyneth Paltrow has been following her muse lately, but calling her grandmother a cunt on Chelsea Lately yesterday might have been taking things too far. “She must’ve been in a lot of pain,” said Paltrow, “because she was mean as hell.” [NYDN]

● Lindsay Lohan had a rough Good Friday in court and is now blaming the planets for her woes. “Mercury must be in retro-grade,” she told Jay Leno last night. Which, okay, on Friday it was! [Gawker] ● will.i.am. thinks it’s a turn-off for girls to have condoms. “That’s just tacky,” he told Elle. That he admitted that his mom made him masturbate for the first time when he was 19, which makes us think things are…complicated. [Elle] ● Having signed off Governator duty, Arnold Schwarzenegger is looking to suit back up as the Terminator. Apparently, he and Fast Five director Justin Lin are shopping a new sequel to studios, a sequel we can only imagine will involve more chiropractors and ice-packs than previous iterations. [HR]