Regardless of genre, Black Eyed Peas remixes are practically guaranteed on any Las Vegas DJ’s playlist. But like bandmates Will.i.am and Apl.de.ap, Taboo is trying his hand at mastering the ones and twos. With his new, regular residency at the Palms, the 36-year-old energetic rapper born Jaime Luis Gómez is branching out, not only as a DJ but as a solo artist. Taboo lets us in on what he calls “the Taboo Experience” before his next gig at Rain on May 25.
What is the Taboo Experience all about?
It consists of DJing, emceeing, visuals, dancing, interacting with the crowd … those are my biggest capabilities and biggest assets that I bring as a performer. I didn’t want to get pigeonholed as just one side of entertainment. I’m a hip-hop connoisseur, so the foundation of hip-hop elements—emceeing, B-boying and DJing—it was a natural transition for me to get into DJing. I love the art form of being able to drop a song and see the crowd’s reaction and, on the same token, go in front of the DJ booth and interact with the crowd and freestyle, or get the crowd pumped up with my own material. That’s the energy I’ve always thrived on in my group.
When did you first start DJing?
Maybe eight months ago.
That’s pretty recent. What was your learning process?
The first time I did it, Apl[de.ap] took his DJ equipment on the road and he had his Traktor setup, so I got onto that and started messing around with it. When I got home, I bought some CDJs, and my son, Josh, who’s actually been DJing for five years now, he was the one who kind of told me how to use it, and I just started practicing.
Why do you think so many musicians are stepping behind the turntables, including other Black Eyed Peas members?
I can’t really speak for Apl or Will because they started for different reasons, but my reason is because I love to perform. Being able to create the pace of the night through DJing and selecting sounds, selecting the music that I want people to gravitate to and fill the dance floor with—for me, that’s a gift.
When people come to hear you spin, will there be Black Eye Peas songs in your set, or will it be something entirely different?
They’ll hear a lot of original material that I’ve been working on. And the latest, hottest tracks that are out, because I DJ for women. I like the women’s reactions—I love the fellas, too, because the fellas go crazy—but reality is it’s hard to make those women dance, and if I can make them scream and have a good time, then that’s what makes me feel like I’m doing my job. So I play the music that really connects with women and my own material that I’m proud of and that I know when it eventually comes out, people will be very excited to pick up.
How much of your unreleased solo material do you play?
Maybe three or four songs or tracks, just the beat itself that I’m incorporating on my album—those are the type of things. I like to keep it fresh and innovative. Even if they don’t know the beat, if the beat itself is ridiculous, people will go crazy.
Your solo album has been rumored to be in the works for a few years. When will we get to hear it?
The thing about it, for those years, I wasn’t ready. I feel like a lot of the time that I was talking, I really wasn’t doing anything with the talking. Now that it’s 2012, the action is being implemented. I’m actually taking it seriously and creating content that will surprise a lot of people and keep everybody on their toes and wanting more.
Any favorite Las Vegas memories?
I think it’s coming. I’m celebrating my birthday in Vegas on July 14, so I think that might be my favorite moment. So I’m pumping it up right now.
You’ll be spinning that night, too, right? Maybe everybody can bring birthday cake and balloons.
Yes, I’m spinning. Bring birthday gifts [laughing]! I accept Best Buy cards and Apple cards for my MacBook!