The Black Eyed Peas mastermind fills us in on songs he loves

By Brad Wete
November 19, 2010 at 05:00 AM EST

DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince ”Summertime” 1991
”[Singing] ‘Summer, summer, summertime/Time to sit back and unwind.’ Wow. I was so Tribe and De La Soul-ed out [at the time]. You would have thought I was in De La Soul. [When I heard this, it] was like, ‘Go that way! That’s the way to go.”’

Antônio Carlos Jobim ”The Girl From Ipanema” 1962
”This song was made for me to fall in love with somebody who I don’t know what the hell she’s talking about. Like, ‘Wow, I’m in love with someone and I can’t even communicate with her verbally.’ I don’t know what Antônio is talking about. I don’t speak Portuguese. But I’m attracted to it. It’s sophisticated, chivalry. That type of dude doesn’t exist anymore. It’s so smooth and hypnotic.”

A Tribe Called Quest ”Bonita Applebum” 1990
”It’s compassionate and haunting. It’s easy to show that you’re mad or angry. Anger is basic math. But showing compassion and joy and caring, that’s geometry. Bossa nova is that; it’s sensitivity. And if there’s any group that embodied that approach, it would be A Tribe Called Quest. Listen to all their samples — they came from Brazilian music and jazz.”

De La Soul ”Buddy” 1989
”This is the best hip-hop song ever. It’s like an avant-garde version of Sugar Hill Gang’s ‘Rapper’s Delight.’ This song made me want to do music. Look at all the layers. It had an intro, the sample of Taana Gardner’s [dance classic] ‘Heartbeat,’ the scratching, like eight different hooks. Everything was hooky.”

Sly and the Family Stone ”If You Want Me to Stay” 1973
”If you were to ask, ‘What group was the Black Eyed Peas of the past?’ I’d answer with Sly and the Family Stone. It was a multicultural group. It was a melting pot of creative people. This song is hypnotic as well, but with a different perspective [from ‘The Girl From Ipanema’].”

Michael Jackson ”Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” 1979
”I like the production on this, the bass line — how it starts off simple and he’s on there whispering. And then it just blows up. [Yells] ‘Wheeeeew!’ What the f—, man? That horn line? There’s never been a better horn riff than this song. No one thinks like that anymore. [Plays the first 20 seconds of the song on his laptop] Play that in Dubai right now. Go to Iran. Go to China. It’s magic everywhere. Wow!”

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