Apl.de.Ap is currently in a heady love state right now. 

“I’m in my feels right now,” he shared to the press at a recent roundtable interview in Manila when asked about his creative process and what inspires him. He emphasized the word “feels,” looking skywards and feeling all giddy.

Apl.de.Ap is all soppy and mushy right now. The founding member of the Grammy-winning pop-rap act Black Eyed Peas — the global phenomenon back in the aughts — revealed that he’s writing “a lot more” love songs these days and is belting out juan karlos’ wounded rock ballad “Ere” in the shower and in the sauna.

“When you’re heartbroken, they always tell you to write about it, you know? Usually, I’m like, ‘How can I write about it? I’m in too much pain right now!’” said the Pambanga-born musical artist.

But all that changed during the pandemic. 

While on lockdown, Apl.de.Ap got inspired to write his newest single with Sandara Park, “2 Proud,” which was released early March. 

The collaboration between the famed Filipino-American rapper and Korean superstar of the legendary 2NE1 is a track that bleeds with the anxieties of an ambiguous romantic situationship made worse by the lockdown. Part of the lyrics goes: I don’t wanna wait, no way / Girl, don’t blame me if things change/Things are getting crazy / Show me if you’re ready, ready, ready / I don’t wanna facetime / I just want your waistline all for me.

“When you go into a relationship, there’s always uncertainty and questions, especially if it’s long-distance. You kinda wanna know where things are going,” he said. “Are you guys on the same wavelength?”

“One day [during the pandemic], it [“2 Proud”] just came out. I just wrote about what I was feeling. Since then, I’ve been writing a lot more love songs. I call them ‘modern-day love songs,’” he explained. The music video for “2 Proud” shows Sandara singing on the television—detached and far away, real and unreal at the same time. This visual element in the music video, according to Apl.de.Ap, echoes the feeling of a long-distance relationship.


Courtesy of blackstar

But while the song screams of yearning (I don’t wanna waste no time / We should be side by side) and frustratingly begs for the girl to make the decision, it’s still pretty cheerful — unlike juan karlos’ emotional weeper “Ere.” Aple.d.Ap’s and Sandara’s voices are even auto-tuned, the distinctively robotic tune contributing to the synthetic feeling of an LDR.

He then went on to describe “2 Proud” as an R&B song “but with a cool beat that you can still dance to.” 

The 49-year-old artist, dressed in a white Gucci monogrammed zip-up polo shirt and matching shorts, is also currently “experimenting” with new sounds. But while he seems enamored by “Ere,” the rapper and music producer is still rooted in dance music.

“I’ve been experimenting on my new inspiration. I’m inspired by afrobeat right now.”

Afrobeat, or pop music that meshes African music and jazz, soul, and funk, is pretty evident in “2 Proud,” which has some of the vibe as CKay’s super-hit afrofunk “Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah).”

He said he’s also “competing” with what is out there: “You see something, like, ‘That’s dope! Oh, let me try if I could match that energy!’”

Produced by Black Eyed Peas music director Keith Harris, “2 Proud” is available to listen to online. The music video, directed by Ben Mor, is also out now. Listen to it below.