LOS ANGELES — Sure, he's releasing her solo debut on his new label. And he executive produced the project, which he's been hyping to the press for months. Oh, and he continues to tour the country with her and the rest of the Black Eyed Peas.
Still, Will.I.Am has beef with Fergie.
The onetime friends are feuding — although the seriousness of the dispute is uncertain — over a recent backstage incident in which Fergie redecorated Will's dressing room.
"I didn't mind that she toilet-papered my room. I mind that she toilet-papered on my equipment 'cause I take my studio with me," Will deadpanned. "I'm doing this song for 'Freedom Writers,' the Hilary Swank film, and when [she] toilet-papered my room, the song got erased. And it was the day I had to turn it in."
Fortunately, Will was able to redo it in a day, which might explain why he's still been able to promote Fergie's album, The Dutchess, due September 19 (see "Black Eyed Peas' Fergie Gets Rough And Regal In First Video From Solo LP").
"I thought the same sh-- [as everyone else] — 'What are we going to do different?' " Will recalled of when he first signed on to work on the record. "Then when you get in there, you start making the songs and you start finding the groove, and it's totally different. It's not different to where it ain't the same person in the crew; you got to still keep that familiarity. But the singing, the melodies, it's a breath of fresh air. She has a great voice and it's prominent throughout the record."
Fergie's album is one of several high-profile projects Will's been contributing to throughout the year, including Justin Timberlake's FutureSex/LoveSounds (see "Justin Timberlake 'In A Good Place' With His Collabos"), due September 12, and Diddy's Press Play (see "Press Play On Diddy's October LP, Hear Christina, Kanye, Mary J."), due October 3.
"I loved his open-mindedness and willingness to try something cool," Will said of Diddy. "He just wanted to vibe with me in the studio. I've worked with him before, but this is the first time he's actually doing something with it."
Will is also executive producing Macy Gray's album, which is due in February on Will.I.Am Music Group (see "Justin, Will.I.Am, Outkast Give Big Love To Macy Gray"), and has four songs — including the title track — on Nas' Hip-Hop Is Dead ... The N (see "Nas Says Hip-Hop Is Dead — New Album Due In September"), due next month. Plus he's got five tracks on Kelis' Kelis Was Here, due Monday (see "Kelis Preparing To Get 'Bossy' With Her Next 'Strong Kind Of Girl Record' ").
"I also got four songs on the new John Legend coming out," Will added. "It's mad sexy. It's the new 'do it' record."
Another R&B star, Chris Brown, has expressed interest in working with Will too, and the Peas rapper happens to be quite a fan. "I don't even know if I want to work with him first — first I want to battle him on the dance floor," Will smiled. "Let him know how to do it."
Also in the works, of course, is Will's own solo album, which he's hoping to finish in the spring (see "Peas' Will.I.Am On His Solo LP: 'I'm A Battle MC, Don't Forget It' ").
"I'm really afraid, you know, 'cause I've been rolling with my boys for 10 years now," he said of his multiplatinum group. "And no, we're not breaking up. We're doing a Black Eyed Peas 10-year anniversary [album] in Christmas 2007. But with this solo record, I'm nervous as sh--, but I work best under pressure."