The Black Eyed Peas is an American pop music group that formed in East Los Angeles, California in 1995. The group is composed of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist will.i.am, and vocalists apl.de.ap, Taboo, and Fergie. Since the release of its third album, Elephunk, in 2003, the group has sold an estimated 27 million albums worldwide, 20 million singles, and 47 million copies with both sales combined. The group scored its first worldwide hit with "Where Is the Love?" in 2003, which topped over ten charts worldwide. Another single was the European hit "Shut Up". Its next album, Monkey Business was also a worldwide hit, certified 4x Platinum in the U.S., and spawning two hit singles, "My Humps" and "Don't Phunk With My Heart".
In 2009, the group became one of only eleven artists to have ever simultaneously held the number-one and number-two spots on the Billboard Hot 100, with its singles "Boom Boom Pow" and "I Gotta Feeling", from the album The E.N.D.. Combined, these singles also topped the chart for an unprecedented twenty-six consecutive weeks in 2009. The album later produced a third Hot 100 number-one placement with "Imma Be", making the group one of few to ever place three number one singles on the chart from the same album. The album also includes singles such as "Meet Me Halfway" and "Rock That Body". The song "I Gotta Feeling" has become the first single to sell more than one million downloads in the UK.Before becoming part of the Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am and apl.de.ap were in a group called Atban Klann, signed to Eazy E's Ruthless Records. The Black Eyed Peas was ranked 12th at the Billboard's Decade-End Chart Artist of the Decade, and 7th in the Hot 100 Artists of the Decade. The group will perform at the Halftime Show for Super Bowl XLV, to be held on February 6, 2011. The group has been nominated for "Most Popular International Artist" in the ARIA Music Awards.
1992–97: Becoming the Black Eyed Peas
The Black Eyed Peas date back to 1988, when eighth-graders William Adams (will.i.am) and Allan Pineda (apl.de.ap) met and began rapping and performing together around Los Angeles. The pair signed to Ruthless Records (run by Eazy-E) in 1992 catching the attention of Eazy-E manager (Jerry Heller)'s nephew. Along with another friend of theirs, Dante Santiago, they called their trio Atban Klann (ATBAN: A Tribe Beyond a Nation). Their debut album, Grass Roots, was never released because Ruthless did not consider the positive themes and peaceful lyrics to be attractive.
After Eazy-E died in 1995, Atban Klann reformed and changed their name to Black Eyed Pods, and then Black Eyed Peas. Dante Santiago was replaced with Jaime Gomez (Taboo), Kim Hill became a steady background singer. Unlike many hip-hop acts, they chose to perform with a live band and adopted a musical and clothing style that differed wildly from the "Gangsta Rap" sounds of other Los Angeles-based hip-hop acts at the time. Through the mid-1990s, they performed in the local club circuit alongside fellow acts as Ozomatli and Jurassic 5
1998–00: Behind the Front and Bridging the Gap
After being signed to Interscope Records and releasing their debut, Behind the Front (1998) the group (and their accompanying live band) earned critical acclaim. The hit single from the album was Joints & Jam, and featured on the Bulworth soundtrack. Their second album was Bridging the Gap (2000), which had the hit Request + Line featuring Macy Gray.
2001–04: Addition of Fergie and Elephunk
Their third album, Elephunk, began development on November 2, 2001 but was released in 2003. It was the group's first album to feature the vocals of Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson. 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 2002. Elephunk is also the first album that indicated and demonstrated The Black Eyed Peas abandonment of the raw Hip-Hop sound they were known and respected for a new, more polished pop sound designed to attract mass audiences. In a positive review of The Black Eyed Peas' new-found style, Rolling Stone noted that since 2002, 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 futuristic songs — a total aesthetic commitment that extends from their garish wardrobes to their United Colors of Benetton worldview."
Meanwhile, Fergie herself recalled her reasons for joining the group to noted UK urban writer Pete Lewis of Blues & Soul: "I first went to see The Black Eyed Peas in 1998 at a place called the El Rey Theatre in LA. Because they were hip hop-yet-abstract and their style was eclectic and theatrical, there was something about them I knew I could gel with. So years later, when my group Wild Orchid and The Peas happened to be on a radio show at the same time, I went up to will.i.am, got on my hustle, and told him I'd been wanting to work with him for ever! We exchanged numbers, and it was when they needed a singer for their song 'Shut Up!' that we actually started working together."
From Elephunk came "Where is the Love?", which became The Black Eyed Peas' first major hit, peaking at #8 on the U.S. Hot 100, but topping the charts in several other countries, 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 six weeks also. 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 success and went Gold and Platinum in the U.S., UK, Germany, and other European markets.
The third single from the album, although significantly restyled 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 first "silhouette" television commercial for the iPod.
Their fourth single from the album was titled "Let's Get It Started", which was re-titled from its original name of "Let's Get Retarded" to ensure radio play with no backlash for being considered as offensive to the mentally disabled. "Let's Get It Started" won a 2005 Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group and also received two nominations for Record of the Year and Best Rap Song.
In 2004, The Black Eyed Peas embarked on the Elephunk Tour, hitting many countries in Europe and Asia.
2004–08: Monkey Business
Their next album, Monkey Business, was recorded through 2004 and was released on June 7, 2005. Much of the pre-production writing was performed on the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus while on The 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, concerned 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, The 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 playlist 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, The Black Eyed Peas performed at the half-time show at the Canadian Football League's 93rd Grey Cup in Vancouver, British Columbia.
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, the UK, Italy and Germany. After heading to Europe and Asia, they toured the U.S. again, and South America. The 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, The 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. The 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, The 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, The 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 U2, Sergio Mendes, Carlos Santana, Too Short, Kelis, Cheryl Cole, SMAP, John Legend, RBD, Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake, Nas and Bone Thugs and Harmony.
In March 2006, The 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.
On May 11, 2006, The Black Eyed Peas performed at San Fernando High School at the football field. In 2007, The Black Eyed Peas embarked on the Black Blue & You World Tour, visiting more than 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 The Black Eyed Peas. In fact, their track "One Tribe" was a promotional single made just for the new Pepsi spot.
2009–present: The E.N.D. and The Beginning
The group's fifth studio album, The E.N.D. ("The Energy Never Dies"), was released on June 9, 2009. The first single "Boom Boom Pow" was sent to U.S. radio on March 10, 2009 and was released on March 30, 2009 on iTunes. The single sold 465,000 downloads in its first week of digital release, the third-largest number of download sales in a single week overall, and the largest single-week and debut-download totals by a group in the history of digital-download sales tracking, reaching No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and Pop 100. It became the group's first U.S. No. 1, holding the spot for twelve consecutive weeks. It also reached number 1 in Australia, Canada, and the UK. The album has a more electro-hop beat rather than the usual hip hop/R&B feeling of their previous albums. Three promotional singles, "Imma Be", "Alive", and "Meet Me Halfway", were released through the iTunes Store in the three weeks running up to the album's release. In its first week, the album sold 304,000 copies and debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200. In the United States, the album became the ninth album to top the one million mark in sales in 2009. The album has spent 38 weeks within the top 10 of the Billboard 200. The E.N.D. was the 7th best-selling album of 2009 in the U.S.. It also debuted at number one in Australia, number two in New Zealand and three in the United Kingdom.
After the release of The E.N.D., the Black Eyed Peas released "I Gotta Feeling" as the official second single from the album. It was produced by David Guetta. Moreover, the collaboration of this artist with the Black Eyed Peas is a significant reason of the recent success of the group. "I Gotta Feeling" climbed to number one on the U.S. 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. 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. From 18 April 2009, when "Boom Boom Pow" reached No. 1, through 10 October 2009, the last week "I Gotta Feeling" was at No. 1, the group was on top of the chart for 26 weeks, more consecutive weeks than any other artist.
On Wednesday, June 17, 2009 the Black Eyed Peas performed on the pre-recorded show Alan Carr: Chatty Man. The band was interviewed and performed their single "I Gotta Feeling". On July 8, 2009, they made an appearance at the Isle of MTV in Malta.
On July 30, Billboard 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 - that shit 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 2009, the group embarked on The E.N.D. World Tour, with dates announced in Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. The tour is expected to last well into 2010.
"Meet Me Halfway" was released as the third single from the album in September 2009. The single reached number one in the UK and Australia, making it their third chart topper from The E.N.D. in both countries. It also peaked at seven on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, making it the groups third top-10 single from The E.N.D.
The group performed at the American Music Awards with the songs "Meet Me Halfway" and "Boom Boom Pow". They also won 2 out of 3 categories in which they were nominated; Favorite Rock/Pop Group & Favorite R&B/Soul Group. They lost their last category, Best R&B/Soul Album (The E.N.D.), to Michael Jackson.
In October 2009, they were the opening acts for 5 concerts of the U2 360° Tour North America leg.
The Black Eyed Peas started 2010 performing "Rock That Body", "Imma Be", "Boom Boom Pow" and other hits from The E.N.D. in a New Year's Eve party and caused an increase in downloads of those songs.
"Imma Be" was released as the fourth single in the U.S. on December 15, 2009, reaching number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks, becoming the group's 3rd number one single on that chart. Heavy airplay in Canada caused "Imma Be" to reach number 5 on the Canadian Hot 100, their 4th consecutive top 5 hit from the album. "Rock That Body" was then released as the fifth single, and has so far reached number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100.
They group performed at the Grammys on January 31, 2010. They performed a mash-up of "Imma Be"/"I Gotta Feeling". In the same night, they won 3 out of the 6 awards they were nominated for including Best Pop Vocal Album for The E.N.D., Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Group for "I Gotta Feeling" and Best Short Form Video for "Boom Boom Pow".
On March 30, 2010 the Black Eyed Peas tackled a major milestone in advanced technology. AEG in a Co-Production with 3ality Digital became the first concert to be broadcast LIVE in 3D. “This is the first live concert in movie theaters in 3D,” says John Rubey, president of AEG Network Live. AEG Network Live hired 3ality Digital, which had already completed 3D production work with Samsung and the Black Eyed Peas for the launch of their new consumer 3D TV’s. “We had had a dialogue with 3ality starting with [president] Sandy Climan two years ago,” said Rubey. “And we met with [director] Ted Kenney last May. Ted and I connected on a couple of advance trips, and the chemistry was good. He was flexible in understanding that it wasn’t just a 3D shoot but that there were a myriad of uses, including a (2D) transmission to 500 movie theaters. His vision and flexibility plus the relationship he’d created with the Black Eyed Peas made him a logical support.”
The Black Eyed Peas' LIVE 3D performance of "Meet Me Halfway" won top honors at the Dimension 3 Expo this year in Paris for Live 3D Category.
On June 10, 2010 The Black Eyed Peas performed "Where is the Love?", "Pump It", "Meet me Halfway", "Boom Boom Pow", and "I Gotta Feeling" at the 2010 FIFA World Cup Kick-Off Celebration concert in South Africa.They also performed at T in the Park 2010 on the NME Stage on the Friday 9 July and Oxegen in Kildare, Ireland on Saturday 10 July on the Vodafone stage.
On July 30, 2010 The Black Eyed Peas performed "Boom Boom Pow", "Rock That Body", and "I Gotta Feeling" in Central Park as part of Good Morning America's free summer concert series.
On June 6, 2010, the band confirmed that they were working on a new album in an interview for The Big Issue. The album was described as a sequel to The E.N.D. Will.i.am announced that the new album, which "symbolizes growth, new beginnings and starts a fresh new perspective," will be titled The Beginning and is due for release on November 30, 2010. The album's first single is called "The Time (Dirty Bit)", and was revealed on October 20, 2010 through Will.i.am's Twitter account.
The group also stated in The Big Issue interview that they are working on a 3D film directed by James Cameron. The film will be a tour documentary with fiction inserted into it.