William James Adams, Jr. (born March 15, 1975), better known by his stage name will.i.am and occasionally his other stage name Zuper Blahq, is an American rapper, songwriter, singer, actor, and producer. will.i.am rose to fame as a frontman and co-founder of the hit hip hop group The Black Eyed Peas, with rappers apl.de.ap, Taboo, and later added member, R&B singer Fergie. As a producer, he has produced with artists such as Cheryl Cole, Daddy Yankee and Usher, as well as several tracks for Michael Jackson, which will be released on Jackson's forthcoming posthumous album. He recently did a music video with rapper, singer, songwriter Nicki Minaj on their song Check It Out.
William James Adams, Jr. was born and raised in the projects of East Los Angeles. He never met his father, William Adams, Sr., and grew up with his mother, Debra. Adams' mother encouraged him to be unique and to avoid conforming to the tendencies of the other youth in his L.A. neighborhood. She also encouraged him to begin working on his musical career by sending him to school in Pacific Palisades. While attending Palisades Charter High School, Adams became best friends with Allan Lindo (stage name apl.de.ap), also a future member of The Black Eyed Peas. While still in high school, the duo performed in East L.A. clubs and were soon joined by three other entertainers to form the socially conscious rap group, Atban Klann. Atban Klann caught the eye of Compton rapper Eazy-E and was signed to his label, Ruthless Records, in 1992.
When William (will.i.am) was 16 years old, he started rapping in late 1991 under the name "Will-1X" after being discovered by Compton rapper and former N.W.A. leader Eazy-E and signed a deal to Eazy's Ruthless Records. will.i.am's first rap song was "Merry Muthafuckin' Xmas" from Eazy-E's 1992 EP 5150: Home 4 tha Sick. Shortly after Eazy-E's death in 1995, Will left Ruthless to start a group that would later be called The Black Eyed Peas.
will.i.am was featured in 2004, singing "Secrets" on Dexter's Laboratory: The Hip-Hop Experiment for Dexter's Laboratory on Cartoon Network.will.i.am is featured in Flo Rida's debut album, Mail on Sunday, on the song "In The Ayer," and on Usher's album, Here I Stand, on the song, "What's Your Name."
In September 2007, will.i.am's record label Universal Music Group decided on a pilot scheme to reward file sharing with cash incentives, which included tracks from his latest solo album, Songs About Girls.
In 2008, will.i.am was hired by Michael Jackson to produce and remix some songs for the Thriller re-release, Thriller 25. Also in 2008, will.i.am contributed the song, "One People," to the Survival International charity album, Songs for Survival.
Zuppa Blahq is a pseudonym for electro house work will.i.am has released, who has had one solo release and one collaboration with Steve Aoki on the single "I'm In The House," which charted at #29 on the UK Singles Chart. The music promo for this single was released September 2009, directed by James Sutton.
In 2009, will.i.am worked with rappers Flo Rida and Akon on Flo Rida's new album, R.O.O.T.S.. He co-created a girl group in 2007 called the Paradiso Girls, who are signed to Geffen/Interscope Records. The group debuted in 2009. will.i.am also recorded four tracks with Girls Aloud member Cheryl Cole for her debut solo album 3 Words. Two of these tracks were also released as singles, the title track and Heartbreaker. will.i.am. appears on two tracks, "Heaven" and "Boy Like You". He also worked with Rihanna on her Rated R album on a track called "Photographs".
will.i.am appeared in the We Are the World 25 for Haiti music video. He is previewed in the video/song "OMG" (2010) by Usher.
In October 2010, Will.i.am appeared on ITV1's popular TV show the X Factor as a celebrity guest judge to Cheryl Cole, when it came to the stage of the judges houses. Here he helped the Girls Aloud singer decide who would go through to the live shows.In a YouTube video posted by YGLifeOfficial on March 15, 2010, will.i.am expressed his desire to work with and help k-pop girl group 2NE1 achieve international success. He later produced many songs and recorded with them in his own studio located in Los Angeles and also in a London studio.
will.i.am first started acting alongside the rest of the members of The Black Eyed Peas in the commercial series "Instant Def" to advertise Snickers. He starred in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa as the voice of the character Moto Moto. He contributed a number of tracks to the movie's motion picture soundtrack in collaboration with industry heavyweight Hans Zimmer. will.i.am played John Wraith in his major film debut, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a prequel to the X-Men film series. He also guest starred on the CBS drama Joan of Arcadia as God, one of several actors who played this role during the series.
will.i.am played a fathering role in The Urbz: Sims In The City, which uses The Black Eyed Peas' songs as its soundtrack. He briefly played himself in the Tina Fey and Steve Carell Comedy Date Night.
Before joining The Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am attended the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles. In 2001, he began designing his own signature clothing line, i.am, which made its official debut in 2005 at the Magic Apparel Trade Show in Las Vegas. In 2007, will.i.am teamed up with Blue Holdings to design a premium denim collection, i.am Antik, that was scheduled to debut in August 2007 at the Project Show in Las Vegas. will.i.am instead has new partners and is launching i.am clothing at Project Las Vegas in September 2009. will.i.am has also designed clothing for The Black Eyed Peas. At the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards Will.i.am wore an all black outfit and black make up which caused a number of people, including Reverend Run, to complain that by blacking up Will had sent black people back 100 years. Will refuted the claims on twitter.
In January 2008, will.i.am wrote a song, "Yes We Can", in support of the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign of Barack Obama, which in turn became a music video directed by Jesse Dylan. The lyrics of the song are composed almost entirely of excerpts from Obama's speech on January 8, 2008, following the New Hampshire presidential primary election. The video features appearances from numerous celebrities like Scarlett Johansson, Tatyana Ali, John Legend, Herbie Hancock, Kate Walsh, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Adam Rodríguez, Kelly Hu, Hill Harper, Amber Valletta, Eric Balfour, Aisha Tyler, Nicole Scherzinger, Nick Cannon, Bryan Greenberg, and Common and first appeared on the website for Dipdive. The video racked up three million views within a week and over four million subsequently on YouTube. On June 13, 2008, "Yes We Can" won an award at the 35th Annual Creative Arts and Entertainment Daytime Emmy Awards for "New Approaches in Daytime Entertainment."
On February 29, 2008, a second video, "We Are the Ones," was released on Dipdive and YouTube. Including cameo appearances from Jessica Alba, Ryan Phillippe, Kerry Washington, pop punk band Yellowcard's front man, Ryan Key, John Leguizamo, Regina King, Tyrese Gibson, Eric Mabius, Tichina Arnold, Adrianne Palicki, comedian George Lopez, and singers Macy Gray, Zoe Kravitz and The Black Eyed Peas' Taboo, the video features everyone chanting "O-BA-MA" as a portrayal as their hopes and wishes for Barack Obama and his presidential campaign.
On November 4, 2008, will.i.am spoke to CNN's Anderson Cooper about his support for then-Senator Obama using CNN's 'hologram' technology.
After the 2008 election, will.i.am released "It's a New Day." The video reflects on the historical events that led to the election of the first African-American president and the public's reaction to his election. The video features celebrities such as Fergie, Olivia Wilde, Kanye West, Harold Perrineau, Kevin Bacon and his wife Kyra Sedgwick. The video first debuted on The Oprah Winfrey Show. The track also appears on the 2009 compilation album, Change is Now: Renewing America's Promise.
In honor of the inauguration of Barack Obama as president, will.i.am collaborated with producer David Foster on the patriotic song "America's Song", with contributing vocals from Seal, Bono, Mary J. Blige, and Faith Hill.In response to Barack Obama's reaction following Kanye West's interruption of Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards will.i.am penned "The Jackass Song". It features a sample of Kanye West's "Heartless". will.i.am wrote a blog post along with the song on Dipdive.
On June 22, 2009, blogger Perez Hilton accused will.i.am and his entourage of assaulting him in Toronto after the MuchMusic Video Awards, a charge will.i.am denied in a video posted on his blog. From his account, Hilton was rude to Fergie and will.i.am confronted the blogger. will.i.am gave his account on his blog:
I didn't hit you. I told you that I didn't like the fact that you disrespected us. It’s cool to have your opinion, but dude, apparently you were bleeding outside the club, I was like next to you by a tree, waiting for my car and instead of calling the police you Twittered that I assaulted you. Sounds like somebody wants mad attention and is not really concerned about his health. I didn’t hit you, and this is very wrong that you are Twitting that I did that, once again disrespecting me and everything I stand for. And they’re lies and that’s wrong. Shame on you, shame on your behavior. And that’s just messed up.
According to news reports, AP article via MSNBC, Hilton called will.i.am a faggot in the club, but Polo Molina – Black Eyed Peas's tour manager – was responsible for punching Hilton from behind. The incident was caught on photo by a nearby photographer and by a video which documents the encounter. Gossip website TMZ released a video showing the encounter.
Since the incident, will.i.am has received support from a variety of other celebrities including Josh Duhamel, John Mayer, Tila Tequila, Kelly Clarkson, LMFAO, Zac Efron, Breckin Meyer and Jimmy Kimmel.