On the most recent episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN were joined by rapper, producer, philanthropist and scholar will.i.am.

will hails from East California, where he spent a lot of his early years in the late 1980s and early 1990s gaining respect around Boyle Heights as an up-and-coming rapper. Around high school and under the moniker Will 1X, he made music in a group called Atban Klann, which also included his longtime friend apl.de.ap. They ended up inking a deal with Eazy-E and Ruthless Records, up until the late rapper’s passing in 1995. That summer was when the Black Eyed Peas came to life.

After adding in Taboo and Fergie, the Black Eyed Peas became a global phenomenon by way of songs like “Where Is the Love?,” “Let's Get It Started,” “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling.” In addition to standout projects like Elephunk and Monkey Business, the group secured chart-topping songs and albums in over a dozen countries, several Grammy Awards and a number of other feats that are etched into the history of music. will also released several solo albums and produced platinum-selling songs for artists like John Legend and Estelle.

He’s currently gearing up to graduate from Harvard and is continuing to explore the development of artificial intelligence through his own company FYI, an acronym for Focus Your Ideas. Below are nine takeaways from the conversation that spoke to his past, present and future. The full episode can be watched here.

1. On the emphasis of making global music

Whether solo or alongside the Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am has sold millions of records worldwide. With that in mind, he opened up about his intention to create music that resonates with folks all over the world. “I go in the studio like a scientist. And I try to figure out, like, ‘Ok, how can this go as wide and make as much impact on this Earth as possible?’ It’s like, if you’re tagging, you wanna get up on the heavens. You want that freeway overpass. You want that train that goes through all boroughs. If you tagging in the alleys, only a couple of people are gonna see that tag… I want landmarks. I want it never to be erased,” he explained.

2. On being compared to Wyclef Jean

Many music fans believe that will.i.am and Wyclef Jean resemble one another. will revealed that he never disagreed. “I would always tell myself the moment somebody calls Wyclef ‘will.i.am,’ I made it. It became my barometer,” he explained. “So, one day, we was doing a show at Central Park. Some little girl comes up to me and says, ‘Can I take a picture with you, will.i.am?’ I’m like, ‘Oh sure.’ And then Wyclef comes up and he’s like, ‘You know, will, my daughter really thinks I look like you.’ I’m like, ‘N**ga, I made it!’”

will went on to praise his lookalike and added, “I love Wyclef. That dude, Busta, Chuck D, Cypress Hill, M.O.P., they would always show us love on our first tour, like, ‘Man, y’all got something.’”

3. On Eazy-E’s impact

will.i.am showed much love to the platinum-selling rhymer who gave him an early opportunity to succeed. When speaking about Eazy-E, he said, “That dude is responsible for my audacity, my ambition and my hunt to go out and be an entrepreneur.” He continued, “Why would we sign to Ruthless? Out of all the people he could’ve signed when Ice Cube and Dre left, why would we sign there? … And so, I take that as that’s the only stamp you need, go out there and be yourself. Don’t have to try and fit in.”

He went on to predict how the rap game would look if Eazy was still around, noting, “The pillars that we have today, I don’t know if they would’ve been able to get into the room because he was so dominant, as an entrepreneur, as a label head, style creator, genre creator, star-birther, star-finder. This dude was impeccable.”

4. On Q-Tip’s influence on the Black Eyed Peas

When will.i.am and company were coming up in the 1990s, gangsta rap was the name of the game, but the Black Eyed Peas opted for a different approach. will explained, “We were keeping that boom bap, or that musical [consciousness], our version of [A Tribe Called Quest] alive. Although we were signed to Ruthless, I based my whole entire career and my artistry off of Q-Tip, [A] Tribe Called Quest [and] De La Soul. And there’s this one song, ‘Groove Is In The Heart,’ that recipe to me, that’s just Black Eyed Peas. It was a Black dude with a white girl with a freaking dance song that’s soulful.”

Giving the rapper-producer extraordinaire more flowers, will added, “Everytime I see [Q-]Tip, I try to thank him as much as possible because I appreciate him and how he almost singlehandedly changed the course of my life with his expressiveness, his fearlessness and just how colorful he is with his writing and producing. I just wanted to do my version of that.”

5. On Pharrell’s contributions to music

When will.i.am was tasked with choosing between producers Pharrell and Ye, he talked about the foundation that Pharrell laid in music. “When it came to putting my style of music on Top 40 radio, who is the person that knocked that door down? Pharrell and freaking André 3000 knocked that door down in the early 2000s. So, you gotta look at the folks that came into this frequency of thought that was pounding the door, that made it easier for folks to then come after them and f**k the ceiling up,” he said. “Pharrell broke the door down for Kanye to come into the room and blast the hole in the ceiling.”

6. On the future of artificial intelligence

will.i.am admitted that AI still has a long way to go but explained that he’s working toward it becoming a successful form of science in music. “What I’m trying to push for is for the artist to own their model. The entire essence and likeness,” he voiced. “Right now, there’s no regulation because there's no governance, and they don't truly own it. That brings up a whole lot of other things like duping, fake-newsing.”

Overall, though, he praised the benefits and potential of AI, saying, “The folks that have been struggling this whole time can now use this technology to finally solve the problems that have always been ignored… It’s an awesome time in this new renaissance.”

7. On the importance of diverse voices in AI

will mentioned that the majority of the time, artificial intelligence sounds “super British” or “super American.” As he promoted his own AI voice, Phylicia, during the episode, he spoke on the importance of having vocal representation for other cultures. “It needs to show up sounding like folks in those communities that are interested in those fields. It’s like a human rights perspective that these AIs don’t sound like folks from the Congo, Nigeria, from Uganda, from Kenya, from Brixton, from the Fifth Ward, from New Orleans, from the projects,” he insisted. “Intelligence, it should sound like us,” the emcee asserted.

8. On linking Michael Jackson and Prince

will.i.am was able to work with both Michael Jackson and Prince, who allegedly had questionable energy toward one another at a certain point. One day, Will explained that he invited Mike to a show that he was having with Prince, to which MJ responded, “Oh, I can’t go to that... Prince is a meanie… One time he tried to run me and my mama over with a car.” After much convincing, Mike finally decided to go, only to have Prince shred the guitar in his face.

will recounted instructions Quincy Jones gave him on how to find the viral moment, saying, “Go on YouTube. Type in ‘Prince, Michael Jackson, James Brown.’ And after this show is when Prince thought Michael Jackson sabotaged him. Because while Prince came on stage, he held onto this light pole and then thought the light pole was a sabotage, and he fell into the crowd and almost hurt himself. So, Prince thought that was a move from Mike.” The video is still on YouTube.

9. On the best era of Hip Hop

Not too far after the 50-year anniversary of Hip Hop, will.i.am weighed in on the greatest era within the art form. When he was asked to choose between ‘80s and ‘90s rap, he said, “I would go ‘No tricks in ‘86’ (in reference to Eric B. and Rakim’s ‘Eric B. Is President’) to ‘What we gonna do in '92’ (in reference to A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Scenario’ remix), even though we had fun in ‘91… That’s the best era of Hip Hop.” Shortly after, he let it be known that he would include “‘93 ‘til infinity” as well and spoke to the importance of both decades.