will.i.am is not a Tupac or Biggie fan.
The Black Eyed Peas frontman has revealed that when it comes to the two rap legends, he prefers neither. In an interview with Skillz, which went viral a year after it was released, will.i.am explained why he doesn’t have a connection to either icon.
“I’m such a Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul head that I don’t like Tupac and Biggie. That kinda music doesn’t speak to my spirit,” he told Skillz during his “Hip-Hop Confessions” podcast.
Instead, he credits acts like KRS-One and Eric B. & Rakim for inspiring him. “If it’s Tupac and Biggie, I don’t hold them up like that. I hold Eric B., Rakim up like that. Tupac’s dope, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t think he’s dope,” he said. “My escape is De La, Tribe out the projects. It took me out of the projects while I was still in the projects.”
As a young MC growing up in the Estrada Courts housing projects of Boyle Heights, will was looking for an escape. “That was my path out. It kept me safe while I was in the projects,” he said. “Had I loved Tupac and Biggie while I was in the projects, I probably would have been stuck in the projects.”
Back in 1992, another legend, the late Eazy-E, signed will.i.am and apl.de.ap to Ruthless Records as part of the group Atban Klann.
“We were signed to Ruthless Records in 1992 because the great Eazy-E looked at us as his Digable Planets,” will told BET in a 2015 interview. “That was his whole premise. He would tell us, ‘Yo, you guys can be A Tribe Called Quest and Digables except from the West Coast.’”
Atban Klann was dropped from Ruthless after Eazy-E’s death in 1995. Will eventually went on to form the Black Eyed Peas, adding Taboo and later Fergie to the group.