‘I Gotta (Mazel Tov) Feeling’

Fergie and will.i.am
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Fergie and will.i.am

By Nathan Burstein

Published July 08, 2009, issue of July 17, 2009.
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Congratulations are in order for the Black Eyed Peas. No, make that a hearty “Mazel tov.”

Thanks to a bit of lyrical inspiration by the hip-hop hit makers, the Hebrew expression of good wishes is getting its widest-ever exposure this summer in bars and dance clubs across the country. In the new party anthem “I Gotta Feeling,” singer will.i.am (real name: William J. Adams) directs listeners to “fill my cup,” then politely wishes them “Mazel tov.” The singer later uses the phrase a second time, earning a “L’chaim” in response from band mate Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson.

Now the No. 1 song in the United States, “I Gotta Feeling” should serve as the backdrop to more toasts for weeks to come. The single claimed the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart dated July 11, displacing “Boom Boom Pow,” a Hebrew-free hit also by the Black Eyed Peas.

Currently on tour in Europe, the group may have picked up its latest song lyrics during two recent trips to Israel. The band, known for hits like “Let’s Get It Started” and “Hey Mama,” performed in Tel Aviv in 2006, then returned for a concert in Jerusalem the following year.

Although the Peas’ use of Hebrew is unusual, it isn’t entirely without precedent. Bandleader will.i.am included a bit of the language in “Yes We Can,” the 2008 tribute to Barack Obama that became a YouTube hit and featured such stars as Scarlett Johansson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Joining them on the video was Israeli-born actress Maya Rubin, who treated listeners to the Obama campaign slogan in Hebrew.


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