Artist: The Black Eyed Peas
Recorded: December 26, 2001–March 3, 2003
Released: June 16, 2003
Genre: Hip Hop, Hip Hop Soul
Length: 4:34 (single Edit) 3:51 (radio Edit) 4:46 (album Version)
Label: A&M, Will.i.am, Interscope
SongWriter(s): William Adams; Jaime Gomez; Allan Pineda; Printz Board; Michael Fratantuno; George Pajon, Jr.; J. Curtis
Producer: Will.i.am, Ron Fair
The song was written by will.i.am, Taboo, apl.de.ap, Ron Fair, P. Board, G. Pajon Jr, M. Fratantuno, and J. Curtis, and co-produced by will.i.am and Ron Fair. In this song, The Black Eyed Peas lament on various worldwide problems. Many issues are discussed, which include but are not limited to terrorism, U.S. government hypocrisy, racism, pollution, war, intolerance, and greed.
Following the commercial failures of their previous albums and singles, there was doubt over whether the Black Eyed Peas would continue to record together. A&R executive Ron Fair approached them and suggested a crossover to a more mainstream pop sound. will.i.am in particular resisted the idea for fear that they would be seen as sellouts. However, after discussions and some writing sessions, the idea was pursued.
Shortly after Christmas 2001, will.i.am created a loop and a guitar part that he liked. Taboo and apl.de.ap also heard the track and were able to write similar lyrics over it. Justin Timberlake was allegedly introduced to the band by new band member Fergie, and got a chance to hear the track that will.i.am created. Impressed with the music, Timberlake helped write and sing the chorus.
Timberlake was in the midst of promotion of his debut album, Justified, and his label Jive Records was concerned about possible overexposure. The Peas were worried about this, as getting some assistance from an established pop star like Timberlake had been the original point of this song. A compromise was reached eventually in which Jive gave clearance for the vocals of Timberlake to be released on the song, but he does not appear in the song's music video nor is he officially credited on the song as an artist. The song has so far sold 954,000 digital copies.
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