Will.i.am's recent onslaught of lowest-common-denominator club-pop has been so dumbed down it's hard to imagine he would have to steal it. Just last week, a new track with Ke$ha found the Black Eyed Peas rapper declaring that a woman has put her "boobies" — or "boobs," depending on which lyrics site you believe — in his face, "so now I'm seeing double." Har har. But theft is just what he acknowledged in an interview yesterday on Los Angeles radio station KIIS FM.
As Billboard transcribes the interview, Will.i.am maintained his use of another artist's track on Chris Brown collaboration "Let's Go" was accidental. The song, which appears on Will.i.am's just-released solo album #willpower, had spurred criticism online for its backing track sounding, well, exactly like Russian producer-DJ Arty's 2011 song with British producer-DJ Mat Zo "Rebound." Arty tweeted on April 16 that no one from Will's side had secured licensing for the sample.
Will.i.am didn't deny it. "Arty is a dope producer so I wrote this song to 'Rebound' this last year," he's quoted as saying. "I got in touch with Arty and showed it to him, did a different version to it 'cause I asked him [to] make it newer 'cause I don't just wanna take your song and rap over it." Will.i.am said that eventually, though, "we preferred writing over and using the [original] 'Rebound.' Something happened and the clearance... hopefully we resolved the issue."
What would be shocking is if Will.i.am thought no one would notice the use of "Rebound," on an album he has been working on since well before a previous release date of early 2012. Compare the tracks for yourself below.