Photo: Black Eyed Peas Taboo Releases Autobiography
“Fallin’ Up” is the title of the new autobiography penned by “Taboo,” (and writer Steve Dennis) the Mexican-American rapper, actor and martial artist best known for his role as a founding member of The Black Eyed Peas.
His real name is Jaime (HA-EE-MEH, not Jaymie, like his wife) Luis Gómez.
He was born in the Boyle Heights, neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, and just a few days ago, his band played perhaps the largest and (as proved by Cristina Aguilera) toughest venues for any artist: the Super Bowl.
Taboo was raised by his single mother in East Los Angeles. He developed a love for performing at a very early age, encouraged by his grandmother, who introduced him to his first musical inspiration—The mariachis at el mercadito. It was his training in the martial arts, from where he drew heavily to create his signature capoeira-inspired dancing style. He is a regular practitioner of Jeet Kune Do as well as a black belt in Ninjutsu.
But his life hasn’t always been gigs full of loving fans, and healthy exercise routines for Taboo. He fathered a baby boy while still a senior in High School, and like many other stars, he fell pray to the drug-fueled lifestyle of “the road.”
“I come to my senses in that place they call ‘rock bottom.’” he has said. “I stare through the prison bars and assess the s—- I’m in. It takes only a few seconds to realize that s—- doesn’t get much deeper than this, and I feel framed by my own stupidity: the architect of the dream turned kamikaze pilot,” writes Taboo in the preface of his new autobiography.
Taboo also writes about how he found himself both ostracized by others for being a Latino, and by Latinos who didn’t understand why he held in close esteem people from other ethnicities, cultures and races.
But it was that melting pot of friends, what helped him launch one of the most popular bands of all time and, incidentally, grow closer to his own roots.
“Now that I’m older, I appreciate my culture and I appreciate Spanish,” he said. “I feel bad I didn’t pick up on it earlier.”
“Fallin’ Up” is available in stores since February 8. Full of intimate glances into the highest reaches of the music industry—including a visit to Sting’s castle, hanging out with Bono and U2, and, at forty-one thousand feet, the high-flyingest karaoke ever—Fallin’ Up takes readers on a revealing, personal journey through stardom—and one man’s triumph over adversity.