Last week, will.i.am and Jimmy Fallon’s comedic single “EW!” charted on the Billboard 100. It reminded us of the many reasons why we love Jimmy Fallon. But it also reminded us that will.i.am used to be a fun, funny and soulful rapper. Nowadays, the Black Eyed Peas are an extremely successful pop group that everybody (especially Kanye) sort of hates. They played a Superbowl halftime show. Their albumsTHE E.N.D. (which won the Grammy for Album of the Year) and Monkey Business (which went triple-platinum and sold over 10 million copies) spawned such industrial strength ear worms as “I Gotta Feeling” to “My Humps” and, of course, “Boom Boom Pow.”

But it wasn’t always like that. In 2003, the band released Elephunk’s “Where Is The Love?” a big-hearted rap so powerful that it brought an oddball rap group from L.A. right into the public eye. Suddenly, there was a powerful force countering all the macho posturing in rap and the shallowness of pop — there was a catchy song delivering incisive cultural criticism about world peace in the wake of 9/11. And it became a massive global hit.
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