Will.i.am, the futuristic frontman of The Black Eyed Peas, established his Silicon Valley bona fides long ago.
The “technology obsessed” rapper made a viral video for Barack Obama in 2008, sent his music back from Mars via the Curiosity rover, and is Intel’s “director of creative innovation.” He drives an all-electric Tesla, is partnering with Steve Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, and markets a $300 high-tech iPhone case.
But in a song on his poorly-reviewed new album #willpower, will.i.am takes his infatuation with startup culture to another level.
Called “Geekin’”, the track begins with a thudding chorus in which he repeats: “Get my geek on, get my, get my geek on.”
The spike in tech investment by celebrities over recent years has been seen by some as another sign that Silicon Valley’s hype is getting ahead of reality. But Ashton Kutcher, soon to appear on screen as Steve Jobs, has made some canny investments, including Skype and Airbnb, while even Justin Bieber got a payday when Marissa Mayer’s Yahoo bought Stamped, a mobile startup he helped finance.
So while it may be easy to mock will.i.am – Black Eyed Peas star, hip hop producer, reality TV show judge and sometime Olympic torchbearer – and his new ₤300 iPhone case, don’t write him off too quickly.