From his close relationship with his grandma to his drug use and hitting it big with multiplatinum group The Black Eyed Peas, Taboo holds little back in his revealing new memoir, Fallin’ Up, in stores now. Taboo talked to Latina.com about why he wrote the book and why it isn’t just another celebrity memoir.
Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired you to share your story?
A lot of kids, especially where I’m from, East L.A., really don’t have a lot of Latino role models. So I felt it was my duty to speak to the youth and let them know a little piece of my history.
Speaking of East L.A., your book talks a lot about growing up there. How has that influenced your musical career and who you are today?
Well growing in East L.A, I was so young but I was so happy. Because it was just me and my mom at that time. We were living in the projects. I didn’t know about being poor, even if we didn’t have monetary items or financial stability, the fact is I had my mom, and that was the love that I needed. So my mom has always planted that seed for me to become the person that I am. As well as my grandmother, this book is dedicated to my grandmother, who I call my Nanny.
One thing that’s consistent in the book is your constant battle with drugs. What made you put your foot down and decide it was time for a drastic change?
You know, I was getting swamped believing my own hype, becoming very egotistical, thinking that I was…you know, it’s that God-complex, I thought I was untouchable. I thought that this was the way that life is supposed to be when you’re a rock star.
I had seen a lot of people go that route so I was like, Okay cool, I’m part of this music industry, so I’m going to go and take that same route. And it just started grabbing a hold of me. First it was a social thing, and than it started becoming a demon. And you know when I got arrested March 27, that was my last and final chapter of everything. That was when I said, You know what, I’m living for my family, I’m not living for myself, I’m not trying to die at a young age.
I’m going on my four years now. I’ve grown into a different chapter in my life and it’s all about family.
You mentioned in chapter 16 that you were finally able to visit Mexico for the first time. How was that experience for you?
Amazing! It was such a great chapter in my life because being Mexican American you hear a lot of stories about Mexico. My family is from Sonora so I always thought, Wow, if I could go back to Mexico and make an impact and speak to my people that would be amazing.
What do you want people to take or learn from your book? What’s the main message you want to instill in people?
I want to inspire. I want to provide hope. I want to provide a sense of appreciation for yourself, and discovering what makes you happy instead of always trying to please others. Because me not pleasing my mom or parents on what they wanted me to do made me a strong person. If you’re not happy doing what you want to do for yourself, a lot of times, there are no losers, there are just quitters. You don’t lose your dream you just quit on your dream. It’s very important for you to believe in your own vision.