will.i.am often went hungry as a child.
The Black Eyed Peas star was forced to leave home at 5am every day because he went to a school in a ''better'' area of Los Angeles than where his family lived and the early start meant he often missed meals.
He said: ''Sometimes I would miss breakfast and when you're on food stamps and lunch tickets, missing breakfast is not good for a kid.''
The 'I Gotta Feeling' hitmaker can understand why people trapped in poverty find it hard to get out because of the ''psychological'' influences around them.
He explained: ''There's a family of influences that dictate behavior. In the ghetto, there's a liquor store, a cheque-cashing place and a motel. What that tells you psychologically is, get a cheque, cash it. Take a couple of steps. But some liquor and get drunk, go home and get kicked out of your house. And here's a place to sleep along the way.
''If you live in a good neighbourhood, you drive home and there's a bank. There's grocery stores and big houses - but no motels. What that tells you psychologically is you protect your money and buy good things for your family to eat in your nice big house. So it's a different system.''
As soon as he could afford it, will moved his entire family to a nicer area of Los Angeles.
He said: ''I moved my mom, cousins, my uncles and my grandma. I moved them to the Valley to be near the rabbis. It was either the drive-bys or rabbis and I picked the rabbis.''