BLACK EYED PEAS
Black Eyed Peas, American musical group with an eclectic range of styles encompassing hip-hop, dance, and pop. The Black Eyed Peas originated in the underground hip-hop movement of the 1990s. After the dissolution of their group Atban Klann, rappers will.i.am (byname of William James Adams, Jr.; b. March 15, 1975, Los Angeles, California, U.S.) and apl.de.ap (byname of Allan Pineda Lindo; b. November 28, 1974, Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines) recruited MC and dancer Taboo (byname of Jaime Luis Gomez; b. July 14, 1975, East Los Angeles, California) to form the Black Eyed Peas. The group’s debut recording, Behind the Front (1998), gained attention for its positive socially conscious lyrics and musical dexterity.
Bridging the Gap (2000), boasting guest appearances by hip-hop performers Mos Def, De La Soul, and Wyclef Jean, continued in a similar vein. With the addition of vocalist Fergie (byname of Stacy Ann Ferguson; b. March 27, 1975, Hacienda Heights, California) in 2001, however, the group abandoned the hip-hop underground for the pop mainstream. Elephunk (2003) yielded the upbeat club-friendly hit singles “Where Is the Love?” (a collaboration with Justin Timberlake), “Hey Mama,” and “Let’s Get It Started” (titled “Let’s Get Retarded” on the album) and went on to sell more than two million copies. Its follow-up, Monkey Business (2005), featuring the exuberant top-five hits “Don’t Phunk with My Heart” and “My Humps,” was even more commercially successful.
After an extensive concert tour in support of Monkey Business, the group was dormant for several years. In 2006 Fergie released a multiplatinum solo record, The Dutchess. Will.i.am, who produced much of that album, released his own Songs About Girls the following year. The Black Eyed Peas returned in 2009 with The E.N.D., which cemented their prominence in the pop music world. Between the singles “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling,” the group occupied the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100 for an unprecedented 26 straight weeks in the middle of that year. In 2010 they won three Grammy Awards, including best pop vocal album. The follow-up to that album, The Beginning (2010), was less successful.
After another lengthy hiatus the three original Black Eyed Peas teamed up with Marvel Comics to release the graphic novel Masters of the Sun: The Zombie Chronicles (2017), written by will.i.am with Marvel’s Benjamin Jackendoff and Damion Scott (illustrator), and shortly thereafter they added an augmented-reality smartphone app in conjunction with the graphic novel. In 2018 the band, without Fergie, unexpectedly issued a hip-hop single, “Street Livin’,” and later that year the full-length appeared. The album, in which Fergie did not participate, was noted for its similarity to the group’s early, more socially conscious music. Singer J. Rey Soul (byname of Jessica Reynoso), who appeared on the recording, accompanied the band during the world tour. She also collaborated with the Black Eyed Peas on their next album, Translation (2020), and she helped promote it as Fergie continued her hiatus.