The Prince of the Peas

Multi-hyphenate (rapper-producer-songwriter-musician, among others) Will.I.Am Adams in his Los Angeles studio.
Multi-hyphenate (rapper-producer-songwriter-musician, among others) Will.I.Am Adams in his Los Angeles studio. (By Carlos Puma For The Washington Post)

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By J. Freedom du Lac
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 22, 2006

LOS ANGELES

This is the house that Will built? The creative command post for "Will.I.Am" Adams, catalyst behind the massively popular if polarizing pop-rap outfit the Black Eyed Peas? The hit factory that's become one of the hottest properties in popular music?

No. Way.

The dilapidated brown building sits on a grungy corner in Los Feliz, wedged between the Los Angeles River and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, a few car lengths east of the interstate. It's a drab, two-story stucco structure that looks as though its tenants ought to include a bail bondsman, a disbarred attorney and a private investigator. There is no signage -- and there are no signs of pop celebrity, either.

Maybe you wrote down the wrong address.

So you call Adams's assistant.

Where.I.am?

She pops out of one of the doors and waves.

This is the house that Will built -- the place where that obnoxious Black Eyed Peas hit "My Humps" was recorded, in the second-floor studio known, curiously, as "the Stewchia." It's also where the Peas' wardrobe is stored, in what must look like a Goodwill donation center, given the group's off-center thrift-store style. Adams's nascent I.Am Clothing company is headquartered here, too, as are the art department for his Will.I.Am Music Group label and his collection of vintage keyboards.

But the rapper-producer-songwriter-remixer-arranger-keyboardist- drummer-dancer-clothing designer-label executive-product pitchman himself is nowhere to be found: Adams is running behind, a long night of parties having wreaked havoc on his afternoon docket.

"He's on his way," his assistant says, unconvincingly, as she ushers you in.

Apparently, the building's exterior is skeezy and unremarkable by design, so as to avoid advertising the building's As-Seen-on-MTV occupants. Inside, it's all state-of-the-art recording equipment, platinum certification plaques, freshly painted walls and stylish Asian design accents, including a cushioned wood chair with a $980 price tag still attached.


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© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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