The Black Eyed Peas (BEP) is an American hip hop musical group based in Los Angeles. The group is composed of will.i.am, apl.de.ap, Taboo, and Fergie. Since their album Elephunk in 2003, the group's hip hop/dance-oriented style has sold an estimated 20 million albums worldwide and 13 million singles. The group is one of only eleven artists to have ever held the number 1 and 2 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time. Their singles Boom Boom Pow and I Gotta Feeling topped the US charts for 25 consecutive weeks, more than any other artist in history. Before Black Eyed Peas, Will.I.Am and Apl.De.Ap were in a group called The Atban Klann signed to Eazy E's Ruthless Records.
1998?2001: Behind the Front and Bridging the Gap
The pop group was signed to Interscope Records and released their debut Behind the Front in 1998. The album won the Peas (and their accompanying live band, the Bucky Jonson) critical acclaim. It featured the single "Joints & Jams", which was included on the soundtrack of the Academy Award-nominated film Bulworth. Their second album, Bridging the Gap, was released in 2000; it featured the single "Request Line" featuring Macy Gray.
The Black Eyed Peas performing on August 24, 2006
Their album, Elephunk, was released in 2003. It was the group's first album to feature the vocals of Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson and she became the replacement for background singer Kim Hill, who left the band in 2000. Originally, Nicole Scherzinger (lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls) was approached to join the Peas. She was forced to decline because she was a member of Eden's Crush and was under contract. Dante Santiago then introduced will to Fergie, who joined the band in 2003.
Rolling Stone notes that since 2003, when the group "hired a blond bombshell named Stacy 'Fergie' Ferguson and gave up their pursuit of backpack-rapper cred, they have made a kind of spiritual practice of recording dumb songs ? a total aesthetic commitment that extends from their garish wardrobes to their United Colors of Benetton worldview."
From Elephunk came "Where is the Love?", a single featuring Justin Timberlake which became Black Eyed Peas' first major hit, peaking at #8 on the U.S. Hot 100, but topping the charts practically everywhere else, including six weeks at #1 in the UK where it became the biggest-selling single of 2003. The single had similar results in Australia, staying at #1 for 6 weeks as well. In an interview with TalkofFame.com, Taboo shared that Justin Timberlake?s split with Britney Spears impacted the recording of "Where Is The Love?".
The album subsequently spawned "Shut Up", which peaked at #2 in the UK and topped the charts in many other European countries including France and Germany, as well as Australia, and Japan in the Asia Pacific, holding on to the #1 spot for 3 weeks there. Elephunk won worldwide success and went Gold and Platinum in the US, UK, Germany, and other European markets.
The third single from the album, although significantly re-styled from the original Elephunk version, "Hey Mama" hit the top 5 in Australia and the top 10 in the UK, Germany and other European countries and reached #23 in the U.S. The song received even more exposure in 2003 when it was featured in the second of iPod's silhouette TV commercials.
During Black Eyed Peas' concert tour in Asia in 2004, apl.de.ap's life story was featured in a weekly Filipino TV drama special called Maalaala Mo Kaya ("Would You Remember"), which explained his childhood with his poor family in Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines. ("The Apl Song", with the chorus written in Tagalog, a language of the Philippines, from their album Elephunk, tells his story.) It was at this time that apl.de.ap formed the Filipino Songwriters and Artist Group (FSAG) with Leli, a songwriter from Pampanga, Philippines, who had developed her writing craft in Compton in the early eighties. They also love pie.
Black Eyed Peas' song "Let's Get Retarded" was restyled as "Let's Get It Started" for an NBA Finals worldwide commercial. The song was quite successful on the charts worldwide, peaking at #21 on the U.S. Hot 100, #11 in the UK, and at #2 in Australia. This spot featured Carlos Santana. On the CD, it is listed as a bonus track, and is before the other bonus track "Third Eye". The unrevised song had great success as a single, particularly on the iTunes music download service and was featured on the soundtrack to the stoner road trip comedy Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. The song earned the group a 2005 Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. Black Eyed Peas were then featured in the video game The Urbz: Sims in the City as characters. They re-recorded "Let's Get It Started" and "Shut Up" as well as other songs in "Simlish", the dialect language used by The Sims characters. This revised version was used in the ads for the iMac G5, with will.i.am and Fergie singing about the computer
In 2004, The Black Eyed Peas embarked on the Elephunk Tour, hitting many countries, including several countries of Africa and Europe.
2005?2007: Monkey Business
The Black Eyed Peas signing autographs before a concert at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.
Their next album, Monkey Business, was released on June 7, 2005. Much of the pre-production writing was performed on the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus while on Black Eyed Peas/N*E*R*D tour of 2004. The album's first single, "Don't Phunk with My Heart", was a hit in the U.S., reaching number three on the U.S. Hot 100. The spot the song reached was the highest peak yet of their career in the U.S. (this was later broken when "Boom Boom Pow" peaked at the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100) and earned them another Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. The song reached three in the UK, and five in Canada, and stayed at number one for three weeks in Australia. Some radio stations, skittish about complaints of obscenity, played an alternative version, "Don't Mess with My Heart". "Don't Lie", the second single from the album, saw success on the U.S. Hot 100, reaching #14, although becoming somewhat more successful in the UK and Australia, reaching a peak of #6 in both countries. "My Humps", another song from the album, immediately achieved commercial success in the U.S. and fairly substantial radio play despite the sexually suggestive lyrics, reaching number three on the U.S. Hot 100 and number one in Australia, making it their fourth Australian number one single. However, many mocked the song for its poor lyrical content; John Bush, writing for Allmusic, described it as "one of the most embarrassing rap performances of the new millennium". Despite this, the album Monkey Business debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart, selling over 295,000 copies in its first week and was later certified triple platinum by the RIAA. Their next and last commercially-released single from the album was "Pump It", which borrows much of its sound from "Misirlou", specifically Dick Dale's version, it peaked at number 8 in Australia.
As well as being a hip-hop album, Monkey Business features some acoustic guitar playing from Jack Johnson in the single "Gone Going".
In September 2005, Black Eyed Peas released an iTunes Originals playlist of their greatest hits, as well as some that were re-recorded especially for purchase through iTunes. The play list includes popular songs such as "Don't Lie", "Shut Up", and a new version of "Where Is the Love?" It has small stories containing info and commentary about the songs and how the group first met.
On November 27, 2005, Black Eyed Peas performed at the half-time show at the Canadian Football League's 93rd Grey Cup in Vancouver, British Columbia.
"My Humps" (2005)
Third single from Monkey Business.
"Pump It" (2006)
Last single from Monkey Business.
In autumn 2005, The Black Eyed Peas set off to tour with Gwen Stefani, as supporting act. In December 2005, they embarked on the "European Tour", which toured multiple countries in Europe.
The European leg which opened in Tel Aviv, Israel, continued to Ireland, United Kingdom, Italy and Germany. After heading to Europe and Asia, they toured the US again, and South America. Black Eyed Peas have starred in a series of web shorts for Snickers called Instant Def, appearing as a group of hip-hop superheroes.
On December 31, 2006, Black Eyed Peas performed at the last stop on the Monkey Business tour, at Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for more than 1 million people, being their biggest concert ever. Black Eyed Peas performed at the UK leg of Live Earth on July 7, 2007 at Wembley Stadium, London. will.i.am performed a new song, "Help Us Out", at the event, which is now on his album, Songs About Girls, as "S.O.S. (Mother Nature)".
Their headlined the main Ocean Stage at the Summer Sonic Festival in Tokyo, Japan on August 11, and Osaka, Japan on August 12, 2007. The act consisted of the band performing their hits, as well as Fergie singing solo tracks from The Dutchess. Will.i.am sang songs from his upcoming album. On December 10, 2005, the Peas cover of the John Lennon classic "Power to the People", which was mostly recorded on the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, was released by Amnesty International as part of the Make Some Noise campaign to celebrate human rights. The song was later released on the 2007 John Lennon tribute album, Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur. The same day, Black Eyed Peas performed their version live on the UK television program The Record of the Year together with John Legend and Mary J. Blige.
On March 21, 2006, Black Eyed Peas released a remix album, entitled Renegotiations: The Remixes to iTunes. It features remixed versions of "Ba Bump", "My Style", "Feel It", "Disco Club", "They Don't Want Music", "Audio Delite at Low Fidelity", and the standard version and video of "Like That". The following week, it was released on CD without the music video. Participants on the EP included DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Erick Sermon, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Large Professor.
Already having produced the bulk of the Peas' albums, will.i.am has begun his solo career in earnest by producing and collaborating with a variety of musicians, most notably Michael Jackson and also including Sergio Mendes, Carlos Santana, Too Short, Kelis, Cheryl Cole, John Legend, RBD, Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake, Nas and Bone Thugs and Harmony.
In March 2006, Black Eyed Peas hit the road again as the featured headliner for the 6th Annual Honda Civic Tour with supporting bands Flipsyde and The Pussycat Dolls. They again brought the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus on the tour with them to craft new songs for Fergie's solo debut album. In 2006, they went on tour with The Pussycat Dolls.
In 2007, Black Eyed Peas embarked on the Black Blue & You World Tour, visiting over 20 countries, including Macau, Sweden, Poland, Romania, Hungary, South Africa, South Korea, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Singapore, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Australia, Nigeria, Mexico, Thailand, Venezuela, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Argentina, Philippines, El Salvador and Brazil. This tour was presented by Pepsi, in conjunction with the new 'Pepsi More' advertising campaign, featuring Black Eyed Peas. In fact, "More" was a promotional single made just for the new Pepsi spot.
2008?present: The E.N.D.
The group's fifth studio album, The E.N.D. ("The Energy Never Dies"), was released on June 9, 2009. "Boom Boom Pow" was released on February 22 online and March 30 on iTunes. It became the group's first song to reach #1, where it remained for 12 weeks, on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #1 in Australia, in Canada, and in the UK. The album has a more electro-hop beat rather than the usual hip hop/R&B feeling of their previous albums. The album entered the number one position on the Billboard 200 for the publication's week ending June 27, 2009, selling 304,000 copies during the week ending June 14, 2009.
The first promo single, "Imma Be", was released for download on iTunes on May 19 in the US, entering the Billboard Hot 100 at number 50 on the week ending June 6, 2009.
Group front man will.i.am told Billboard that The E.N.D. stands for "The Energy Never Dies", which describes his model for a project that will be living and frequently updated throughout its designated cycle. "It's a diary ... of music that at any given time, depending on the inspiration, you can add to it," the artist/producer/songwriter explains. "I'm trying to break away from the concept of an album. What is an album when you put 12 songs on iTunes and people can pick at it like scabs? That's not an album. There is no album anymore." He describes the music as "a lot of dance stuff, real melodic, electronic, soulful. We call it, like, electric static funk, something like that."
Band member Taboo told iProng Magazine that The E.N.D. may be the last Black Eyed Peas album released in physical form, in favor of digital-only album releases in the future. "Possibly, this is the last physical CD for any group, let alone a Black Eyed Peas CD. Because four years from now, we don?t know what it could be," he explained. "It's one thing to just have a CD and need to live with that CD, but what if you were able to take those fifteen songs, and then you got ten songs the next month that you couldn?t have on the CD? And then we just keep on giving you new material and keeping it fresh and reinventing the song."
The second promo single "Alive" was released for Download on May 26.
The third promo single "Meet Me Halfway" was released for Download in the US on June 2.
After the release of The E.N.D., the Black Eyed Peas released "I Gotta Feeling", produced by David Guetta, as the second official single from the album. "I Gotta Feeling" climbed to number one on the US iTunes chart replacing "Boom Boom Pow" which dropped to number two. The single charted at number three and then went to number one on the UK Singles Chart. It debuted at number 2 on the Hot 100 behind "Boom Boom Pow" and later surpassed it, taking the number 1 spot. However, the song has drawn some criticism for the use of the words mazel tov and L'Chaim, with Wayne Gladstone of Cracked.com calling it excessively repetitive and "Officially the Worst Song Ever". The Black Eyed Peas joined a very elite group of artists who have held the No.1 and 2 Spot on the Hot 100 simultaneously. Since "Boom Boom Pow" reached the number 1 spot in April, the group has been on top of the chart for more weeks than any other artist.
On Wednesday, June 17, 2009 at 12pm, the Black Eyed Peas performed a special acoustic performance at Campo De Bocci in Livermore, California for RJ Delos Santos who is dying from a brain tumor. This was the second (the first being the Pussycat Dolls) of a series of concerts for Delos Santos.
On the same night they performed on the pre-recorded show Alan Carr: Chatty Man. The band were interviewed and performed their single "I Gotta Feeling".
On July 8th 2009, they made an appearance at the Isle of MTV in Malta.
On July 30, Billboard.com announced that the Black Eyed Peas set a record for the longest successive No. 1 chart run by a duo or group in the Billboard Hot 100's history. "I Gotta Feeling" hit its fifth consecutive week at No. 1, following 12 weeks at the top by the Peas' "Boom Boom Pow." Boyz II Men reigned on the chart for two 16-week runs in the mid-'90s.
Following its release, will.i.am remarked that the album had been inspired by a trip to Australia, specifically the sound of The Presets' My People. "The energy on the Presets' small little stage was crazy energy. That song My People (he sings the chorus) - that s . . . is wild," will.i.am said, ""That's the reason why this record sounds the way it does - my three months in Australia."
On September 8, 2009, the group performed live for Oprah Winfrey's 24th Season Kickoff Party, on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. An estimated 21,000 dancers in the streets performed a flash mob to the live performance of "I Gotta Feeling".
In September, the group embarks on The E.N.D. World Tour, with dates announced in Japan, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. The tour is expected to last well into 2010.
"Meet Me Halfway" was announced the third single taken from the album. A music video will premiere for the song September 25th.
"Missing You" was announced on American Top 40 by Will.I.Am as the fourth single taken from the album. It wont be released until early December
will.i.am ? vocals, synthesizers, bass, piano, clavinet, drums, organ, programming, production, engineering (1995?present)
apl.de.ap ? vocals, clavinet, strings, programming, production (1995?present)
Taboo ? vocals (1995?present)
Fergie ? vocals, (2003?present)
Kim Hill ? vocals (1995?2000)