Album: Eardrum
Label: Blacksmith Music / Warner Bros. Records

Talib Kweli: “I was hanging out with a lot. I was touring with the Black Eyed Peas and had been playing me beats a lot. He had a just done a beat on The Game’s album and on Nas’s album. People in hip-hop circles were starting to appreciate his production. We did ‘Say Something’ and ‘Hot Thing’ on that record, which are two very different sounding tracks.

“I liked the idea that I had somebody as prominent as to do a beat that was something that came from the old Black Eyed Peas, not the pop Black Eyed Peas. Will is very talented and the hook that he came up with on that record is incredible.

“ is definitely overtly a pop artist. He made a very conscious effort to get his money up, and be like, ‘I’m out here for this paper. I’m out here to make people dance and have fun. I really don’t care what you think.’”

“I have real underground fans that like that record and have no idea is even on it. It shows you his true talent. He can make you like him and you don’t even know you like him.