1988–2000: Atban Klann, Behind the Front, and Bridging the Gap
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). Will 1X (aka will.i.am), apl.de.ap, Mookie Mook, DJ Motiv8 (aka Monroe Walker), and Dante Santiago formed Atban Klann. Their debut album, Grass Roots, was never released due to Ruthless Records founder Eazy-E's death.
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 rapper, Jaime Gomez (Taboo), and Kim Hill a singer which featured on a selected number of their tracks. Santiago continued to be a background singer for the group. Unlike the "gangsta rap" sounds of Los Angeles-based hip hop acts at the time, the trio performed with a live band and adopted a conscious musical and appearance style. After being signed to Interscope Records and releasing their debut, Behind the Front (1998) the group (and their accompanying live band) earned critical acclaim. One of the singles from the album was "Joints & Jam", and was featured on the Bulworth soundtrack. Singer Sierra Swan joined in 1998, appearing on the 1998 song "Fallin' Up", before she left in 2000. Their second album, Bridging the Gap (2000), produced the singles "Weekends" featuring Esthero and "Request + Line" featuring R&B singer Macy Gray. Hill left the band while producing the album, but was still featured on the album tracks for "Hot" and "Tell Your Mama Come" as well as in the video for "Weekends".
2000–2004: Addition of Fergie and Elephunk
The Black Eyed Peas signing autographs in 2004.
Their third album Elephunk began development on November 2, 2001, but was not released until 2003. It was the first album to feature the vocals of subsequent longtime member Fergie. Nicole Scherzinger was originally approached to join the Peas, but was forced to decline because she was a member of Eden's Crush and was under contract. Fergie joined the group in 2002, introduced to will.i.am by Dante Santiago. Elephunk is also the first album that indicated and demonstrated the new, 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."
From Elephunk came "Where Is the Love?", which became the Black Eyed Peas' first major hit, peaking at No.8 on the U.S. Hot 100, but topping the charts in several other countries, including seven weeks at No.1 in the United Kingdom, where it became the biggest-selling single of 2003. The single had similar results in Australia, staying at No.1 for six weeks. 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 No.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 No.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". It 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, Africa, and Asia.
2004–2009: Monkey Business and solo albums
The Black Eyed Peas' apl.de.ap and Fergie in 2005
Their fourth 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 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 No. 14, although becoming somewhat more successful in the UK and Australia, reaching a peak of No.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 but 18 in America.
The Black Eyed Peas performing on August 24, 2006
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. 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, France and Germany.
After heading to Europe and Asia, they toured the U.S. again, and South America.
In addition to touring, the Black Eyed Peas also headlined the halftime show at the Grey Cup on November 27, 2005.
The Black Eyed Peas starred in a series of web shorts for Snickers called Instant Def, appearing as a group of hip-hop superheroes. On March 21, 2006, the Black Eyed Peas released a remix album, titled 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. 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.
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. They recorded the song "More" for the new Pepsi spot. 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)". They 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 group performing their hits, as well as Fergie singing solo tracks from The Dutchess. will.i.am again sang songs from his upcoming album. 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, Sérgio Mendes, Carlos Santana, Too Short, Kelis, Cheryl Cole, SMAP, John Legend, Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake, Nas and Bone Thugs and Harmony.
In October 2008 will.i.am told Billboard.com that the group was about to complete their fifth album, The E.N.D., title that stands for "The Energy Never Dies".
2009–2014: The E.N.D, The Beginning and hiatus
The Black Eyed Peas performing on October 7, 2009
The Black Eyed Peas joined by DJ David Guetta headline the Wireless Festival in Hyde Park, London, July 2011.
In early 2009, both Fergie and the group left A&M Records for unknown reasons, both Fergie and the group are still with Interscope Records.
The group's fifth studio album, The E.N.D ("The Energy Never Dies"), was released on June 9, 2009. The overall sound of the album has a more electro hop beat rather than the usual hip pop/R&B feeling of their previous albums. 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." 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 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. Three additional 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.
The first single "Boom Boom Pow" was released on March 30, 2009 in the U.S. 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, reaching No. 1 on the U.S. The single also reached the top spot in Billboard Hot 100 and Pop 100. being 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. On May 21, the Black Eyed Peas released "I Gotta Feeling" (produced by David Guetta) as the official second single from the album. The single charted at number three and then went to number one on the UK Singles Chart. It debuted at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 behind "Boom Boom Pow" and later surpassed it, taking the number 1 spot. The Black Eyed Peas joined a group of artists who have held the No.1 and 2 Spot on the Billboard Hot 100 simultaneously. From April 18, 2009, when "Boom Boom Pow" reached No. 1, through October 10, 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 July 30, 2009, 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. "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 group's third top-10 single from The E.N.D "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 third number one single on that chart. Heavy airplay in Canada caused "Imma Be" to reach number 5 on the Canadian Hot 100, their fourth 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.
In September 2009, the group embarked on The E.N.D World Tour, visiting Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. In October 2009, they also were the opening acts for 5 concerts of the U2 360° Tour North America leg. The group performed at the Grammys on January 31, 2010. They performed a mash-up of "Imma Be"/"I Gotta Feeling". 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 July 27, 2010, the Black Eyed Peas released a remix album: The E.N.D. Summer 2010 Canadian Invasion Tour: Remix Collection. It was released on iTunes in Canada only, during the Canadian leg of The E.N.D World Tour. It mostly features remixes of the singles taken from The E.N.D. It also features a remix of "Let's Get It Started" taken from Elephunk; the remix was also a bonus track on the deluxe edition of The E.N.D.
Their sixth studio album, The Beginning, was released on November 30, 2010, and received mixed reviews. The album's first single release was called "The Time (Dirty Bit)", and was revealed on October 20, 2010, through will.i.am's Twitter account. The music video was directed by Rich Lee, who had previously directed the video for "Imma Be Rocking That Body". "Just Can't Get Enough", the second single from The Beginning was released in February 18, 2011. Its music video was released on March 16, 2011, and it was filmed in Tokyo, one week before the earthquake and the tsunami. The video was directed by Ben Mor. The group's third single was "Don't Stop the Party" and it was released on May 10, 2011. On the same day, a music video for the song was released on iTunes, along with the single. The video, which is directed by Ben Mor, features on stage and backstage footage of the group during The E.N.D. World Tour in 2009–10. The video premiered on Vevo on May 12, 2011. On May 22, the group appeared on the 2011 Billboard Music Awards and won 1 of their 4 nominations, for "Top Duo/Group".
February 6, 2011 the Black Eyed Peas headlined the Super Bowl halftime show. The Black Eyed Peas were the second artist to have performed in both the Super Bowl and Grey Cup halftime shows, and are one of only three artists to have ever done so As of February 2017 . Shania Twain did it before them (performing in the 2002 Grey Cup and 2003 Super Bowl halftime shows) and Lenny Kravitz did it after them (performing in the 2007 Grey Cup and 2014 Super Bowl halftime shows).
On the July 6, 2011 during a concert at Alton Towers in Staffordshire, the Black Eyed Peas announced they are taking an indefinite hiatus following the completion of their current tour. will.i.am later confirmed the news on Twitter, adding that the break does not mean they will "stop creating". On November 23, 2011, the group made their last performance for The Beginning Tour in Miami with opening acts including Cee Lo Green and Queen Latifah.
2015–present: 20th anniversary, Fergie's departure, and Masters of the Sun
During an interview with NRJ, will.i.am in talking about his solo album also confirmed that the Black Eyed Peas would start recording sessions for their seventh studio album in 2015. In an interview on Capital Breakfast, will.i.am said that the Peas will reform in 2015 for their 20th anniversary. The Peas premiered a new song titled "Awesome" that was included in commercials for the 2015 NBA playoffs. The song did not include Fergie, with people questioning if she would be a part of the upcoming album. On the 20th anniversary of their debut, the Peas premiered a new song titled "Yesterday" through Apple Music, though the song also does not feature Fergie.
On August 31, 2016, the Black Eyed Peas released a new version of their song "Where Is the Love?". The song is titled Where's the Love? and is credited to "The Black Eyed Peas featuring The World". The song as well as the accompanying video feature all four members of the group, will.i.am, Fergie, apl.de.ap & Taboo, and many other popular artists such as Justin Timberlake, DJ Khaled, and Jessie J. It is the group's most recent work with Fergie, and her last live performance with them happened in 2015. On June 3, 2017, they performed at the opening ceremony of the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final in Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. The performance, which included a pyrotechnic display, ran over time and forced the kick-off to be delayed by several minutes. On June 2, 2017, a Billboard article rumored that Fergie was departing from the band. will.i.am dismissed this, but they did announce that she was taking a break from the group to work on her sophomore solo album Double Dutchess while the remaining members were working on the graphic novel Masters of the Sun.
On January 9, 2018, Black Eyed Peas released their first single without Fergie, titled "Street Livin'". On February 18, 2018, will.i.am confirmed Fergie would not feature on the group's seventh studio album, in an interview with the Daily Star. On May 17, 2018, the Black Eyed Peas released a single called "Ring the Alarm". The single "Get It" was released on July 10, 2018. The music video for Constant pt. 1 and 2 was released on YouTube on August 30, 2018. The group released another single titled "Dopeness", featuring South Korean rapper CL, on October 25, 2018. Their seventh studio album, Masters of the Sun Vol. 1, was released the following day on October 26. This is their first album since 2010's The Beginning; and the first as a trio, without Fergie, since 2000. The album is considered to be a sequel to Bridging the Gap.
In 2018, former “The Voice Philippines” finalist and Team Apl.de.ap member Jessica Reynoso joined the group as a vocalist.