The Black Eyed Peas Biography
The Black Eyed Peas defied and transcended hip-hop boundaries becoming one of the world’s most successful groups of the 2000s and one of the world’s best-selling groups.
The group initially started in 1988 with will.i.am, apl.de.ap and Dante Santiago as “Atban Klann”. They were discovered by rapper Eazy-E, who later signed them to his Ruthless Records label in 1992. Known as “Will 1X” at the time, Will and his bandmates decided to change their name to “Black Eyed Peas” after Eazy-E’s death. Taboo joined (replacing Dante Santiago) and they released the debut album “Behind the Front” and the second album “Bridging the Gap” under Interscope Records. They earned critical acclaim as their hip-hop style was far from the popular “gangsta rap” at the time. They performed accompanied by a live band and were writing non-violent material.
Fergie and Eventual Breakthrough
While working on their next album, they realized that a female voice was missing, and at the end, Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson was chosen as a permanent member. “Elephunk” was released in 2003 under the final group name “The Black Eyed Peas”. The album was designed with the intent of appealing to the public, however, it still maintained the futuristic appeal the band strived for. Featured by Justin Timberlake the “Where Is the Love” track gained International success and making the album a best-seller. The next song “Shut Up” was certified gold and platinum in North America and “Let’s Get It Started” got the quartet their first Grammy for “Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group” in 2005. Their first single “Don’t Phunk with My Heart” from their second album “Monkey Business” was a hit and got them a Grammy award for the same category as last year. Although poorly received by critics for its lyrical content, “My Humps” was another success, commercially. The album was later certified triple-platinum by RIAA. The group continued with “Black Blue & You World Tour” held in over 20 countries.
Solo Careers and Reemergence
Each one of the group had a try at a solo career. Most notably, Fergie with “The Dutchess” in 2006 and will.i.am with “Songs About Girls” in 2007 while producing for artists like Michael Jackson. The next album “The E.N.D” made a shift in their style as it had a more electro-futuristic based sound. It reached number 1 on the Billboard 200 and was the seventh best-selling album of 2009 in the United States.The first single from the album “Boom Boom Pow” was the quartet’s first number 1 Billboard Hot 100, remaining there for 12 consecutive weeks. “I Gotta Feeling” was at number 1 for 26 weeks, more than any artist ever. During the 2010 Grammy Awards, they won 3 awards out of the 6 nominations. Their last studio album “The Beginning” was released in 2010 to mixed reviews and less commercial achievement. After the last performance in 2011 they entered an indefinite break, however, they are planning to reunite for the group’s 20th anniversary.
Photo credit: Variety