“I don’t hold them like that”

Don’t ask Will.i.am if he prefers the music of Tupac or Biggie.

In a new interview with rapper Skillz on the hip hop confessions podcast, the Black Eyed Peas frontman opened up about some of his favorite rap artists and revealed he doesn’t like it when people hail Biggie Smalls (aka the Notorious BIG) and Tupac Shakur as the best of the genre.

“I’m going to say something…I don’t mean to say it disrespectfully,” Will.i.am, 47, told the host. “When people say Tupac and Biggie, I’m so [an] At Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul thinks I don’t like Tupac and Biggie.”

CHICAGO - MARCH 1994: Rapper Tupac Shakur poses for photos backstage after his performance at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois in March 1994. (Photo by Raymond Boyd/Getty Images);  LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 12: will.i.am attends the BODY At The ESPYs Pre-Party at Avalon Hollywood on July 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Dave Mangels/Getty Images);  Rapper Notorious BIG AKA Biggie Smalls (Christopher Wallace) accepts the Billboard Music Award on December 6, 1995 at The Coliseum in New York, New York.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

CHICAGO – MARCH 1994: Rapper Tupac Shakur poses for photos backstage after his performance at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois in March 1994. (Photo by Raymond Boyd/Getty Images); LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 12: will.i.am attends the BODY At The ESPYs Pre-Party at Avalon Hollywood on July 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Dave Mangels/Getty Images); Rapper Notorious BIG AKA Biggie Smalls (Christopher Wallace) accepts the Billboard Music Award on December 6, 1995 at The Coliseum in New York, New York. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

Raymond Boyd/Getty; Dave Mangels/Getty; Larry Busacca/Getty Will.i.am, Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur

“That kind of music doesn’t speak to my mind,” he continued. “I like Boogie Down Productions, KRS-One; if it’s like ‘Tupac or Biggie?’, I’m like ‘KRS-One’. Why those two?”

RELATED: Snoop Dogg Recalls His Last Conversation With Tupac After Fatal 1996 Shooting: ‘We Loved Each Other’

Will.i.am expanded on his thoughts and named other artists he personally considers the best in the game. “If it’s Tupac and Biggie, I don’t hold them like that,” he said . “I want Eric B. [and] Rakim like that.”

The “Boom Boom Pow” musician then clarified that he was a fan of the “California Love” rapper, who was shot and killed in 1996 at age 25. “Tupac is dope. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I don’t think he’s dope,” Will.i.am explained.

CHICAGO - MARCH 1994: Rapper Tupac Shakur poses for photos backstage after his performance at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois in March 1994. (Photo by Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

CHICAGO – MARCH 1994: Rapper Tupac Shakur poses for photos backstage after his performance at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois in March 1994. (Photo by Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

Raymond Boyd/Getty Tupac Shakur

He went on to talk about the specific impact of hip-hop groups like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest on his upbringing in Los Angeles. “It took me out of the projects while I was still in the projects,” Will.i.am said, noting that their music sparked his imagination and “physically” enabled him to “achieve” his “dreams.” “.

“It protected me while I was in the projects,” Will.i.am recalled. “If I had liked Tupac and Biggie while I was in the projects, I probably still would have been stuck in the projects.”

RELATED: Notorious BIG’s Son CJ Wallace Opens Up About His ‘Global Legacy’ on 25th Anniversary of Rapper’s Death

Ahead of the 25th anniversary of Notorious BIG’s death on March 9, the late rapper’s son, CJ Wallace, spoke to PEOPLE about his legacy.

notorious big

Notorious BIG

Larry Busacca/WireImage Biggie Smalls

Born Christopher George Latore Wallace, the “Hypnotize” singer died in a drive-by shooting at age 24 in 1997, when CJ was just five months old.

“I don’t have any memories of my dad, but I’ve been told so many stories about him and how similar we are,” CJ said at the time. “Now that I’m 25, I’m really starting to understand that I was able to get past the age he died. It’s a very special feeling because I’m really starting to blossom as a man. “

“He had a global legacy,” the entrepreneur continued. “My dad has reached every corner of this world. I see the reaction I get when people recognize me, and the DMs I get on Instagram and Twitter show me that even people younger than me have been inspired by my dad. It’s crazy.”

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