Black Eyed Peas' Taboo Calls 'Blue's Big City Adventure' an 'Amazing Project' to Work on With Friend Josh Dela Cruz (Exclusive)
When Blue's Big City Adventure, a new Nickelodeon movie starring everyone's favorite cartoon puppy, debuted exclusively on Paramount+ last year, many parents were thrilled to discover that Black Eyed Peas member Taboo was part of the film. As Blue and her friend Josh Dela Cruz go in search of a Broadway musical audition, they eventually come upon Taboo in Central Park, where he helps them find their "Song." Now, in support of the movie's release on DVD, PopCulture.com had a chance to speak with Taboo and learn all about his experience working with Blue and Josh, as well as what led him to the "amazing project."
"What got me into the kid space was, I'm a toy collector. I love LJN wrestlers from the '80s. Dude, like the big rubber... So that, being a collector of toys, going to Comic-Con... Being a writer for [Spider-Man] comics," Taboo shared, reflecting on the things he loved as a kid developing into new passions for him as an adult, such as his current work on the Deadly Neighborhood Spider-Man comics series for Marvel. "Just being a nerd and loving and appreciating just everything, from Nickelodeon to WWF before it became WWE, Black Belt Theater. So I grew up on just animation, cartoon, [and] storytelling."
Taboo then shared how Blue's Clues had been part of his life as a dad, and explained, "The reason why I did this amazing project, is because my kids grew up on different generations of Blue's Clues. My son Josh is 30, [he] grew up on Steve. Jalen, grew up on Joe or Donovan and Josh Dela Cruz. And, my daughters are growing up on Josh Dela Cruz."
The rapper went on to reveal, "I built a friendship with Josh Dela Cruz in 2019 at the Macy's Parade. Where Black Eyed Peas and Blue's Clues had a float. So we're there, we meet, we exchange info, we become friends. And then when the opportunity to do this amazing project presented itself, it was like, 'Wait, generations of Blue's Clues [are] part of our household.'" He added that it was a "natural progression for me to say, 'Yes, let's go!'"
Speaking about what it was like to be on set for the new movie, Taboo offered, "It was fun, man. Seeing how Josh goes into acting mode and doing it on a daily basis, with nothing really there, other than a Blue stuffed animal. Because Blue, sometimes, may not make it on time and she's out doing her thing... You got a stand-in, you got a little stuffed animal. And Josh is always on point with it. So I got to really learn from him."
He continued, "It was amazing being on set, especially in the time period that we were filming, because it was during the pandemic... Reality was crazy, but being on set took us out of the reality of the pandemic. It allowed escape. It was great to be part of this amazing project, because not only did I have a good friend and Josh, it was also beautiful to see all these different cultures represented in one movie."
Taboo also shared that he'd injured himself prior to filming, and had to work with a "busted leg" for his scenes. "I had torn my ACL," he said, then joking that it wasn't because of a "cool" reason. "Nothing like, 'Oh, I was performing at the Super Bowl. I was performing at the World Cup.' Nothing like that. I stepped wrong and tore my ACL. And so I had a brace, that I had to take off during filming, but I was in pain." However, he realized "that every time" director Matt Stawski "called action, I forgot about the pain. I'd just go straight into acting mode."
One notable aspect of Blue's Big City Adventure is that a portion of the film features different singers trying out for the Broadway audition, but not getting chosen. Each time, the singers are noticeably disappointed, but all handle the rejection well. We asked Taboo about this important message of the movie, and he agreed that it's an important lesson, and one that Black Eyed Peas had to learn after being told things like that they were "not tangible enough."
"That's what we got when we were coming up," he said. "'You're not tangible enough.' I was like, 'What's tangible?' What does that mean? 'Your music is not tangible enough.' So yeah, we had rejection, but the belief in ourselves was more powerful than anybody's criticism or rejection... or non-belief. So we had belief in ourselves. The crew that I created with my brothers Will and Apple, Black Eyed Peas was the ultimate belief."
Taboo added, "To have that represented on in this movie was something that spoke to me too. Because you see the American Idols or these music shows, where you have the Simon Cowells... So it was great to see that reality being spoken through this lens of Blue's Clues. And so, as a family, you can have that conversation."
The multi-Grammy-winning musician continued, "Sometimes it's an uncomfortable conversation, when everybody's not going to agree with you or everybody's not going to be a fan of you or everybody may not co-sign me, and there's going to be no's. But that's reality. And so with a lot of no's, you got to have that fire in yourself that says, 'Yes, I can do what I put my mind to. If I practice over 10,000 hours, I can be this.' That's how I look at it as a dancer, as a performer, as an artist. I put in my hours, man, 10,000 hours — Outliers vibe — so that I can get to be able to master my craft. And so if you have that same philosophy and you use something as beautiful as this conversation that was this movie, the messaging, then you're able to have those conversations with your kids when the time permits."
Offering his final thoughts on how shows like Blue's Clues, and Blue's Big City Adventure, can help parents with "uncomfortable conversations," Taboo asserted, "Really you're breaking down, and being empathetic of the age range, because there's different ages where these conversations may occur. Bullying or shaming and all these things, that you have to walk a sensitive liveness as a parent, because you can't get emotional about it. But you also have to be like, 'How can I have this conversation with my kid about these issues?' And I'm glad that Blue's Clues did that and they did it in such a way, where we took away that information and we felt empowered at the end." Blue's Big City Adventure is available on DVD on March 28th.