Black Eyed Peas

  • Hip-Hop/Dance Pop group formed in 1995 from Los Angeles California. Members since the beginning of the group are will.i.am (born William Adams – vocals, keyboards, bass guitar), apl.de.ap (born Allan Lindo – vocals, drums) and Taboo (born Jaime Gomez – vocals, guitars, DJ). Original guest vocalist Kim Hill was replaced by Fergie (born Stacy Ann Ferguson) in 2002, and Fergie was replaced by guest vocalist J. Rey Soul (born Jessica Reynoso) in 2018. All members contributed to songwriting.
  • In 1988, while attending eighth grade summer school, Adams and Lindo became friends. They began to perform rap music at venues around Los Angeles. Soon, two other rappers joined them to form the group Atban Klann (ATBAN = A Tribe Beyond A Nation). LA-based rapper Eazy-E discovered them and signed them to his record label in 1992. At that time, Adams adopted the stage name Will 1X, and Lindo began using the stage name apl.de.ap (the moniker means Allan Pineda Lindo of (de) Angeles Pampanga – his birth city in the Philippines). Atban Klann recorded an album, but it was never released due to the death of Eazy-E in 1995. After Eazy-E’s death, Atban Klann changed its name to Black Eyed Pods, with Gomez joining, using the stage name Taboo. In 1997, they changed their name again, to Black Eyed Peas, with Will 1X now known as will.i.am.
  • The style of the group evolved over time, away from the gansta-rap that was prevalent in Los Angeles at the time, to a group that used a live band and performed songs that were mostly fun and positive. They were signed to another record label, and in 1998 they released their debut album, Behind the Front. The trio had 15 musicians and eight guest vocalists contribute to the album – Kim Hill sang on three of the songs. The album was praised by critics, but it was only modestly successful, and none of the three singles charted.
  • Vocalist Hill’s role expanded with the group’s second album, Bridging the Gap, released in 2000. Hill contributed to nine of the tracks, but she left the group before the album was released. It sold a bit better than their debut, and they had their first charting single with Request + Line (featuring Macy Gray on vocals), which peaked at #63 on the Hot 100 and at #2 on the Hot Rap Songs chart.
  • In 2002, Ferguson auditioned and joined the group, officially making it a quartet. They released their third album, Elephunk, in 2003. The album peaked at #14 on the Billboard pop album chart, and eventually it was certified 2x platinum. As popular as it was in the U.S., it was even bigger internationally, with the singles Where Is the Love? and Shut Up topping charts in many countries. The album also contained Let’s Get It Started, a signature hit that reached #21 on the Hot 100, #4 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart, and won the Grammy for Best Rap Performance in 2005.
  • Two more albums released in the 00s were multi-platinum sellers. 2005’s Monkey Business included the top 10 singles Don’t Phunk With My Heart (winning their second Grammy award) and My Humps. It established them as true crossover pop artists while retaining their hip-hop roots. In 2009, they released their best selling album, The E.N.D. (“The Energy Never Dies). This album incorporated EDM and electropop to their sound. The album had three songs that consecutively reached #1 on the Hot 100 – Boom Boom Pow, I Gotta Feeling and Imma Be – putting the band at #1 for a record 26 consecutive weeks. It received six Grammy nominations, winning three awards – Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Pop Performance for I Gotta Feeling, and Best Short Form Music Video for Boom Boom Pow. 
  • In 2010, The Beginning album was released. It included two top 5 hits, The Time (Dirty Bit) and Just Can’t Get Enough. After the tour to support the album, the group went on hiatus. During this time, will.i.am released a solo album (his fourth – he also released solo albums in 2001, 2003 and 2007), and apl.de.ap released several solo singles. In 2015, the group started recording and performing again. They premiered two songs that did not include Fergie, creating speculation that she was no longer part of the group. While she did perform in 2015, she did not perform with the group after that, nor did she participate in the albums released by Black Eyed Peas in 2018 and 2020. Those albums show the band as a trio again, with J Rey Soul supporting with vocals.
  • Black Eyed Peas is one of the most successful hip-hop groups ever, thanks to their incorporation of pop in their work, giving it appeal to those who do not enjoy rap music. This earned them a ranking of #12 on Billboard’s ranking of Artist of the Decade for 2000 to 2009. Dominating the #1 spot on the Hot 100 in 2009 is an amazing stat. At that time, you’d start every party with a song by them. Here’s my fave party starter, put your hands in the air, with I Gotta Feeling. “Tonight’s gonna be a good night!”

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