will.i.am often went hungry as a child because he had to leave the house at 5am to go to school.
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."