Interview: The Lonely Island

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You use a lot of rude words in your songs. With great power comes great responsibility....
Taccone: A friend of my family had an eight-year-old kid who heard "Jizz in My Pants." He had to ask his mom what it was, and she had to explain all of sex to him. So she thanks me routinely.

Did you feel sheepish, using mom and fucking in the same sentence in "Motherlover"?
Samberg: Well, Jorma's mom was not into it; my mom really loved it.
Taccone: My mom loved "Dick in a Box," thought it was great, and then really was not into "Motherlover." Bizarrely. She found her limit.
Samberg: My mom thought it was a good message: that moms are sexy, that moms have sexuality too.
Taccone: She hasn't been paying attention to what's been happening online for the last ten years. [Laughs]
Samberg: [Nods] She does not troll MILF sites.

The guest list on Turtleneck & Chain is crazy. Did you have a list of fantasy collaborators, like Michael Bolton?
Schaffer: Bolton was our first choice for [the Pirates of the Caribbean--inspired track] "Jack Sparrow," always. We worked very hard to make it happen.

How did Nicki Minaj get involved?
Schaffer: It was just through hearing her music, the way anybody does. It was in the summer before she blew up.
Samberg: It was a satisfying feeling of foresight on our part that we had asked her to do it in summertime before she got booked on the show. Like, yeah, told you she was great!
Taccone: She plays a good sexy nerd.

Does anyone ever say no to your requests? Have you asked for Kanye?
Schaffer: There have not been specific songs, but we always put the feelers out to Kanye. We always say, "We're making an album and whenever you're ready." And that goes for now as well.
Samberg: I'll say this now about anyone ever who we've asked and they've said no: You just have to want to. And there's nothing wrong with not wanting to. People have so much to lose, and in certain people's eyes, not as much to gain.
Schaffer: Yeah, he doesn't need to be more famous or reinvent himself. He would just have to think it would be a fun thing to do.

Ever feel that you're co-opting an urban genre?
Samberg:
I hope we're never co-opting it. We want it to feel like we're celebrating it.
Taccone: I think we make a point of saying this is fake rap, we don't consider this real rap.
Schaffer: It's not like Elvis, taking the music and white-ifying it and replaying it. We're paying respect to it.
Samberg: We always say that the joke isn't that it's rap, we use rap to tell the joke. And one of the other reasons is that none of us can sing or play any instruments.

Turtleneck & Chain is out Tuesday 10.

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