How’s THAT for an attention-grabbing title?
To explain this outlandish statement, I’ll firstly say that this is not a comparison I make simply to will.i.am. My theory is that, if you were to conduct an appropriate survey, Hitler would come out on top as the person considered to be the ‘worst’ or ‘most evil’ in history (the analogy still suits if you consider, say, Stalin or Pol Pot to be worse). Therefore, in all other areas of life, there must be something with which you can equate Hitler’s evil. For example, Josef Fritzl would be the Hitler of incest, Two and a Half Men would be the Hitler of television, George W. Bush would be the Hitler of Republican presidents, Glenn Beck would be the Hitler of fucking idiots, and so on, and so forth.
Thus, my hypothesis is that will.i.am has the highest magnitude of Hitlerness in music. This isn’t to say that he has committed genocide against an entire race of people killing millions ALTHOUGH I have yet to see any evidence proving this to be false!! What follows is my argument for will.i.am’s title of Music’s Hitler. If you happen to disagree with me, please feel free to rebut with another suggestion in the comment section!
It may surprise some to learn that before they were the eardrum-raping pop stars they are now, The Black Eyed Peas were without the ‘The’ and their first album actually garnered critical acclaim, and their live show praised for use of a live band unlike many other hip-hop acts of their day. These days, any attempt to play with a live band would be stifled by the fact that we’d actually be able to hear their real singing voices (god forbid!).
Their first mega-hit was 2003’s Where Is The Love?, a pleasant, inoffensive ode to how terrible the world is and how this song is going to say how bad it is but never actually make any difference except probably divert money that could otherwise be donated to charity to maybe restore some of that missing (presumed dead) love. Coming from the album Elephunk, it marked the point at which will.i.am said, “Fuck it!” to artistic credibility and sold the fuck out.
After that, it all went way, way downhill. The next single, Shut Up, was the first proper introduction of the pants-pissingly terrible Fergie, which prominently featured her inability to pronounce ‘crazy’ or ‘lady’ like a normal human being. After that came Hey Mama, which was just a vessel for a clip showcasing all of the ugly hats will.i.am owned at the time.
Now, everything up until this point was pretty bad, but barely foretold what lay ahead. Interestingly, the Peas were still enjoying the majority of their success overseas. Don’t Phunk With My Heart was only their second top 10 hit on the Billboard charts, coming from their fourth album Monkey Business. The single which came before it, Let’s Get It Started, weathered some controversy for bearing the most idiotic title in pop music history – Let’s Get Retarded. In its original form, the lyrics read:
Let’s get into it, get stupid
Get retarded, get retarded, GET RETARDED!
So naturally this was deemed to be a completely reasonable and polite pop song and was released and enjoyed by a wide audience with no offence caused. But really, it was that dangerous that they had to re-record it to be Let’s Get It Started which, frankly, makes a lot more sense in the first place. I mean, if the original intent of the song was the band suggesting they all go involve themselves in serious accidents meaning they could actually be considered to fit the rather politically-incorrect definition of retarded, I’d be all for it. But the instigation that “getting retarded” involves getting drunk and partying is one that I have a little more trouble buying.
The song represented a recurring motif in The BEP’s music over time, i.e pretty much every fucking song would be about partying/getting drunk/date rape, probably. Listening through all these songs, they quite accurately fit the RnB style of the time. From the early 00’s to about 2006/2007, Timbaland’s production style was the style du jour. From Aaliyah through Nelly Furtado, the dude’s fingerprints are all over fucking everything. But those last couple of years he really started to fade, and 2005 is where will.i.am started to really shape pop music, and boy was it for the worse.
This brings me to My Humps, which was truly a new low for the band. Written and produced by will.i.am (and co-written by the un-Wikipedia-able David Payton), I would honestly go as far as to call this the worst song ever made. The lyrics, so horrid they should probably cause retching and convulsions, simply inspire a bewildered, “Is this for real?!” In reality, the interrobang is not sufficient punctuation to express my incredulity toward this lyrics:
They say I’m really sexy,
The boys they wanna sex me.
They always standing next to me,
Always dancing next to me,
Tryin’ a feel my hump, hump.
Lookin’ at my lump, lump.
I mix your milk wit my cocoa puff,
Milky, milky cocoa,
Mix your milk with my cocoa puff, milky, milky riiiiiiight.
They treat me really nicely,
They buy me all these ice-ys.
These couplets make Shakespeare roll in his grave so hard that the world shifts its fucking axis. The worst part is that this song won a GRAMMY. Normally I’d be like, “Who cares, it’s just a Grammy!” but SERIOUSLY. Even a Latin Grammy would be too good for this shit.
Now, sadly not everyone agrees with my vehement opposition to this song. The comments from the SongMeanings entry for the song offer significant insight into other opinions, and frankly, they’ve almost convinced me that it’s good. Hell, how could I disagree with this sort of sensible rhetoric from as far back as 2005?
this song is so awesome any1 whoo disses it is gay as nd shouldnt b listenin 2 it if dey dnt lyk it retards!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
it makes me wanna get up and dance FUCK EVERYONE WHO DON’T like it I just wanna enjoy myself, IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT GO FUCK YOURSELF
i love this song its so funny some peaple take it way to seriously but i love it its awsome its not like 4rth graders will become prostitutes when there older god. Its got a good beat and kind of funny when you think about it. The black eyed peas have funny songs and this is one of them! its got a good beat and is VERY catchy.
Yes, well AIDS is pretty catchy as well, but that doesn’t make it a good thing. A lot of the comments, including that last one, seem to suggest that it is some kind of satirical take on the depiction of women in hip hop. Sadly, it doesn’t actually work that way. Will.i.am has said that he originally wrote the song for The Pussycat Dolls, which makes a whole lot of sense, doesn’t it?
After that came Pump It, which no one really cared about, and then they kinda weren’t around for three years. And it was bliss. It was as though Hitler kinda just gave up in 1941 but popped up again in 1944. But then they were back, and with a vengeance.
Boom Boom Pow. Harmless onomatopoeia? No, sir, it’s the name of The Black Eyed Peas’ first ever Billboard number 1 single, and it stayed there for 12 straight weeks. The song, a pastiche of all the worst things about electronic music crossed with autotune, was described by will.i.am thusly:
For example, when we made “Don’t Lie“, I was like ‘oh, let’s make this radio friendly. “Big Girls Don’t Cry“, ooh this sounds like a radio song, let me put some radio touch on it.’ That don’t exist anymore. There’s no such thing as a radio song. Radio is what the people want, and “Boom Boom Pow” is proof that if something’s dope, regardless of if it has that sprinkled radio vibe, that it should be played on the radio and the people are gonna like it.
I could find countless more quotes to support that will.i.am is a big, arrogant cuntosaurus but it’s really not necessary. It’s an arrogance that’s run through all of their songs and Boom Boom Pow itself references it (“I’m so 3008/You so 2000-and-late”). They constantly describe all their The E.N.D-related endeavours as “futuristic” but basically all they’re saying is, “Look at us, we sound like a rape sounded out by Microsoft Sam!”
It’s music for digitalised culture, for a generation who could probably find a way to survive forever on Facebook and energy drinks. The structure of the song has been described as “unusual”, but in reality, the structure of the song is that they don’t give a shit about the structure of the song. I’m all for progression and forwardness in pop music but copy-pasting a whole bunch of autotuned shit into Garageband does not constitute forwardness.
Yet sadly, the sound has permeated pop music to date. If you listen to most of Rihanna’s recent output, you can hear will.i.am’s influence. Gone is a lot of her Barbadan melody, and in its place the robotic and monotonic bleating will.i.am loves so much. She’s not the only one, either; Britney Spears, Ke$ha, LMFAO, Jennifer Lopez, Usher and Katy Perry’s recent outputs all seem to indicate that autotune and flat electronica are the “it” sound at the moment, and frankly, that’s terrifying.
Boom Boom Pow was only knocked off the top of the charts by I Gotta Feeling, an incredibly simple party song produced by David Guetta (a kind of DJ hellspawn peddling will.i.am’s vision of an utterly bland pop landscape). In slight favour of the song, unlike Boom Boom Pow, it doesn’t sound like someone spilt a song onto the page. But that doesn’t make it that much less inane. Fergie really has a way with words and by way with words I mean she makes them sound like the word is dying. DRAYNK. DRAYYYYYYYNK. Ugh.
Pretty much every BEP song follows this basic formula:
- Catchy but uninteresting beat
- Fergie vocal hook
- Sometimes a guest verse by one of the two other guys who could probably have died three years ago and no one would question their presence in these new videos
- Completely incidental lyrics, as though will.i.am shredded a document and the words simply fell into place, like fate but for shitty songwriters
- REPETITION, DEAR GOD, THE REPETITION
I’m not sure how many times they say “I gotta feeling/that tonight’s gonna be a good night” throughout the song but thinking about it just makes me wonder how many people died in suffering each time they said it – and that’s just the people who weren’t listening to it at the time.
Never before has a band so flauntingly celebrated their own incomprehensible vapidity with such arrogance but still reached preposterously high levels of success as a result. What The Black Eyed Peas make is music for people who don’t want to think, not even one bit. For them, that may be fine. But people already have enough dismissive distaste for pop that at least some effort should be put in so that the BEP aren’t making Katy Perry sound like fucking Kafka by comparison.
The shit parade has continued with The Beginning, released just a year after their previous non-effort. The lead single, The Time (Dirty Bit) can barely even be considered their own song as it basically just has will.i.am and Fergie singing the hook from (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life (deemed a “sample” in the loosest sense of the word), with some shitty rap thrown in and a Deadmau5 ripoff techno backbeat out of nowhere, preluded by the words “dirty bit” which I presume mean something to someone less white than me.
Will.i.am is the kingpin of the Black Eyed Peas operation. He’s the frontman, the lyricist, the producer. He is ultimately responsible for the front of artistry he and his band mates attempt to create. If war crimes get you tried in the Hague, we need somewhere we can try the Black Eyed Peas. They’ve forever warped pop music for the worse. Thankfully, there’ve always been those who followed trends to lesser degrees. But as a whole, pop music has seen a significant decline since ~2004/2005, and being pretty much the biggest band in the world right now, with an incredibly prolific producer at the helm (who has only ever produced one or two good songs, mind), it’s hard not to pin the blame on the Black Eyed Peas.
So. For being the mastermind behind the worst pop band or artist in music today; for being an arrogant cunt who never fails to talk up his own music in a douche-y way; for not actually punching Perez Hilton because that dude deserves it; for taking pop music in a “futuristic” (read: shitty) new direction, marring this annal in its history forever; will.i.am, you are the Hitler of music.