Black Eyed Peas Hit 'Where Is The Love?' Remixed In 2016 To Remind In 2003, the pop group's song "Where Is the Love?" was in the top 8 on the Billboard 100. Now will.i.am has rewritten the song. He tells Rachel Martin it's been adapted to reflect the issues of 2016.
NPR logo

Black Eyed Peas Hit 'Where Is The Love?' Remixed In 2016 To Remind

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/493491886/493491887" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Black Eyed Peas Hit 'Where Is The Love?' Remixed In 2016 To Remind

Black Eyed Peas Hit 'Where Is The Love?' Remixed In 2016 To Remind

Black Eyed Peas Hit 'Where Is The Love?' Remixed In 2016 To Remind

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/493491886/493491887" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

In 2003, the pop group's song "Where Is the Love?" was in the top 8 on the Billboard 100. Now will.i.am has rewritten the song. He tells Rachel Martin it's been adapted to reflect the issues of 2016.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHERE IS THE LOVE?")

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

You remember this song - "Where Is The Love" by the Black Eyed Peas. It was one of the top songs of 2003.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHERE IS THE LOVE?")

THE BLACK EYED PEAS: What's wrong with the world, Mama? People living like they ain't got no mamas. I think this whole world...

MARTIN: Now, the Black Eyed Peas have released a new version, remixed and rewritten to reflect what's happening in the world today.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "#WHERESTHELOVE")

THE BLACK EYED PEAS: Where is the love when a child gets murdered or a cop gets knocked down? Black lives, not now - everybody matter to me...

MARTIN: One of the song's creators, will.i.am, joins me now from our studios in New York. Thanks so much for being with us.

WILL.I.AM: Thank you for having me.

MARTIN: This song was so huge at the time. It still is. Why did you feel compelled to recast it?

WILL.I.AM: So the first time we wrote "Where Is The Love?" was after 9/11. We went on tour 2001 on September the 12. And we saw what America felt like. We felt what America felt like. And the result was writing that song. And since then, horrific things have happened to the world.

And we're witnessing, like, people with no empathy, no sympathy anymore - and then at the same time, like, amnesia, where something happens, we feel for it, and then a week later we, like, go back to that routine of forgetting. So we wanted to aim this song and remind people that there's still a lot of problems out there that need people's attention.

MARTIN: Did you think about how to make a bigger impact than you may have done with the original?

WILL.I.AM: So the original was - it was a rinse. This is what we felt, and we rinsed it out and the liquid was "Where Is The Love?" Our tears, our thoughts - we rinsed it out. This one was - we rinse it out, and this water is going to the drought. And that drought is not getting our kids up to speed to compete and solve tomorrow's problems. There's kids in the inner city that are subject to crime and in and out of correctional facilities. So this rinsing out goes there.

MARTIN: Did you think about writing a different song about racial discrimination, about police brutality, about the failure of the education system? And if not, why? Why was it more powerful, in your mind, to go back to something that you'd already done?

WILL.I.AM: So really, just those lyrics - Father, Father, Father, help us. Send some guidance from above 'cause people got me, got me questioning, where is the love? It's like a prayer, actually. I remember my grandma, she used to pray for us and say the our father prayer. She would repeat the same prayer to keep us guided where our heart is aimed at the right direction. So why don't we just take a deep breath, stop all this division, stop all this, like, is the media telling me that the world's racist or is the world racist? Or is it a lack of investment?

It's really not racism. It's really just, like, this system that's in place that - we just have to look at it because the same folks that are filling up the prisons are the same folks that we neglected their education on. And it just so happens to be black people. So, yes, from that perspective, black lives matter. But all lives matter, all lives to pay attention to this system that we have to just, like, untangle.

MARTIN: So you don't buy what you're saying is a narrative out there that America hasn't grappled with its racist past, that there is still racism in this country?

WILL.I.AM: People to people, no. The system, yes - that we have to look at. And the reason why it is because the people ain't paying attention. So it's - both are at fault.

MARTIN: That was will.i.am talking about the Black Eyed Peas' remake of "Where Is The Love?"

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "#WHERESTHELOVE")

THE BLACK EYED PEAS: Where is the love? Oversees, yeah, they're trying to stop terrorism. Where is the Love? Over here, on the streets...

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.