That Future Flow! Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow” Turns 10
Believe it or not, Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow” turns 10 today. On March 13, 2009 the track debuted on US radio as the lead single from The E.N.D. (it was released digitally on March 30). A demented hybrid of futuristic electro and hip-hop, the chorus-less banger was an instant smash. After charting on airplay alone, it sold 465,000 downloads in its first week of commercial release — rocketing to number one. And then stayed there for the next 12 weeks. (Fun fact: The song was dethroned by BEP’s own “I Gotta Feeling”).
“Boom Boom Pow” went on to sell 6.9 million digital copies in the US alone and ranked as the 7th biggest hit of the ’00s. Not only that, but it lives on in pop culture thanks to still-quotable lyrics (“I’m so 3008, you so 2000 and late”) and the impact it had on pop radio. “[The song] was made for underground clubs,” will.i.am explained at the time. “Like, if I would’ve thought that was gonna be a radio song, I would’ve made it different.” The success of “Boom Boom Pow” proved that you could break all the rules and still be on high rotation.
“There’s no such thing as a radio song [anymore],” he continued. “Radio is what the people want, and ‘Boom Boom Pow’ is proof that if something’s dope, regardless of if it has that sprinkled radio vibe, that it should be played on the radio and the people are gonna like it.” Fergie agreed that the song was a risk. “I feel that ‘Boom Boom Pow’ is not your typical first single,” she told MTV in 2009. “It’s not the typical, let’s do a hooky chorus, and you know, have a feel good-heart love song, or anything like that. It’s basically kind of to the left.”
While “Boom Boom Pow,” despite its futuristic aspirations, hasn’t aged as well as “I Gotta Feeling,” “Meet Me Halfway” or even “Where Is The Love?,” it still goes hard. And it’s still one of the strangest concoctions ever to conquer the global charts. Now that Fergie got Double Dutchess out of her system, maybe we’ll finally get a new album from the much-missed hitmakers. Watch the Grammy-winning video below.