“T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever),” the Will.i.am single that features Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger and Jennifer Lopez, is set to be released on November 20, 2011.
Will.i.am and Lopez are scheduled to perform “T.H.E.(The Hardest Ever)” on the 2011 American Music Awards, which ABC will televise in the United States at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. Jagger is not expected to be there.
“T.H.E.(The Hardest Ever)” will be made available on iTunes immediately following will.i.am and Lopez’s performance.
As previously reported, the single was leaked early after the news spread that Jagger and Will.i.am had recorded music together.
“T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)” is the first single from “#willpower,” the fourth solo album from Will.i.am., who is the founder and front man for the Black Eyed Peas. The album will be released on Interscope Records in 2012 on a date to be announced.
The producers of “T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)” are will.i.am, Audiobot and Dallas Austin.
The music video for “T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)” — directed by Rich Lee and filmed in Los
Angeles and London — will premiere on a date to be announced.
At rehearsals for the 2011 American Music Awards, Will.i.am told RollingStone.com how he got Jagger to perform on the song and how Interscope Geffen A&M chairman Jimmy Iovine got involved:
“I went to play material for the label and Jimmy Iovine’s like, ‘Yo, this is dope. Who are you gonna put on it?’,” Will says. “I’m like, ‘What are you talking about? It’s finished, it’s me.’ So, he’s like, ‘Oh, you don’t feature no one?'”
“You play your music and the first thing someone says, ‘Who’s gonna be on it?’ So I think of the hardest thing ever,” he says. “And it happened, Mick Jagger. I just wanted to throw something out there that I thought could never be possible so they would stop asking me.”
“T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)” also brought Iovine back to producing for the first time in decades. The Interscope chairman, who has worked with U2, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks and many more, produced Jagger’s vocals at Will’s suggestion. “Jimmy’s like, ‘Will.i.am, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones are like my Tribe Called Quest, my De La Soul, my N.W.A. I wanted to be like Mick when I was young,'” Will says.
It turns out, however, that Jagger and Iovine had never worked together, much to Will’s surprise. So he convinced Iovine to come out of production retirement for Jagger’s part of the song. “He produced Mick’s vocals, and this was the proudest moment of my life,” Will says. “Winning a Grammy is cool, but the guy who helped you out – and then you got to see him execute one of his dreams – that’s just the dopest ever.”