Exclusive: The Black Eyed Peas’ Taboo Talks 'Zumbao,' Fatherhood & EDM

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What is a Zumbombie?

In the video, all these people that are getting infected are becoming “zumbombies” but instead of being walking dead zombies, they are “zumbobies” that are getting infected by a positive virus that makes them want to dance. The Black Eyed Peas fans are known as Peabodies, but me as el Rey de Zumbao, I’ve got “zumbombies” which are my fans. That’s why I’m not in the video. I specifically didn’t want to be rapping in the video so people wouldn’t say that’s the guy from the Black Eyed Peas. I wanted people to say, “What’s this Zumbao thing?” You see me at the beginning of the video, starting the music and all I do is stop the music and I give her a pound like I did my job, I infected you. I didn’t have to be in the video rapping, as people would expect because all I have to do is transmit the frequency of Zumbao and Zumbao will do the job without me having to be in the video.

The video for “Zumbao” just looks like fun…like you want your viewers to jump through the computer screen and join in.

I specifically told my director about the thing that I did wrong with One Heart One Beat. I released a song called One Heart One Beat in 2010, which was about my thoughts about the 1070 bill that racially profiled immigrants especially in Arizona.  The message was so strong and the song was great, but the only thing that wasn’t good was me in the video, rapping the song. Why did I do that? Why didn’t I just show powerful images of Cesar Chavez and the immigrant workers and the farm workers, things that would capture the imagination and let people appreciate the song without Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas? I said to myself that I wasn’t going to make that mistake again with “Zumbao” because it’s about the movement. I’m not selling Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, I’m selling “Zumbao.” It’s different, it’s a different era and it’s a different mind frame that I have. I have no ego about my song. I’m approaching it on a humble level and I want to let the song and the movement spread and let people gravitate towards it. Even if people don’t know it’s my song, I like that. It’s a reinvention from being the guy that was using drugs and the alcoholic for 16 years with the long hair and scary face, to being the sober guy, that has been sober for 7 years, and appreciating life with no long hair and becoming the ultimate husband and ultimate artist as myself as an individual.

You’re an independent artist. It seems like that’s the best way to go nowadays.

I learned a lot from Pepe Aguilar, who is one of my mentors and one of my biggest inspirations. He’s an iconic figure in the Mexican community because his dad was Antonio Aguilar, so for me being brought up in a Mexican community, I always looked to Pepe Aguilar’s career from when he first started and where he is now. What I really liked about him was that he was in control of his own destiny. He was the record label, he owned his website, he owned his merchandising, he was in charge of his touring, and he made such a successful and inspirational career by doing what he does. I look at people like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, who are all independent, and he swept at the Grammys, he’s done everything possible selling records. I like independence and I like being able to be in control of my own destiny.

Black Eyed Peas is still at Interscope so big shout out to Interscope and Universal. With the Peas, they definitely help us out because it’s a big machine. The Black Eyed Peas is a multi-million dollar conglomerate. It’s just a big brand. For me, I need to control it because I need to know where everything is going and I need to be in charge of my destiny. I’m a husband and a father and I want to take care of my kids and their kids so I wanted to control everything to make sure that I’m running my own ship.

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About this author

Jesus Trivino,

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Jesús Triviño Alarcón began his professional journalism career at Vibe. At 25, he became editor-in-chief of Fuego, the first national English language Latino men’s magazine, and served as senior editor for Scratch, a magazine dedicated to hip-hop producers and DJs. Since then he has guided the editorial direction for MyNuvoTV.com, the online component of the Latino lifestyle cable network, and BET.com's music shows and specials including 106 & Park. Additionally, he has written and reported for the NY Daily News, SLAM, The Source, XXL, Inked, SOHH.com, People.com, Essence.com, and many more. In his 16-year career he’s interviewed countless celebrities including Bruno Mars, Carmelo Anthony, Demi Lovato, Marc Anthony, Rosario Dawson, Willie Colón, Jay-Z, Nas, Jessica Alba, John Leguizamo, 50 Cent, Kanye West, among others. Today, as Latina’s Entertainment Director he’s constantly thinking WWJD—What Would Juanes Do? Follow him on Instagram @JesusTalks and Twitter @JesusTalkz.

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