Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Black Eyed Peas

The Black Eyed Peas Biography
Ever since they were a fledgling group in the environs of Los Angeles, The Black Eyed Peas have flaunted a passionate, energetic hip-hop spirit people have always been drawn to. They've earned fans worldwide with their inventive approach to hip-hop music, inspiring people with loose rhymes, and a positive spirit and funkafied vibe. On Elephunk, the group's third album, that spirit seems to course through their beings even more than ever.

The Black Eyed Peas ­,, Taboo and newcomer Fergie ­ named the album Elephunk, to conjure up a big, deep funk sound. Produced in its entirety by and apl, the album boasts a mix of live instruments and traditional hip-hop samples and beats. It also mixes the group's breathless verbal acrobatics with a very conscious view of the world.

Black Eyed Peas's music has always been firmly entrenched in hip-hop but also with an eye to other musical forms. Elephunk, , more than previous albums, seems to transcend the simple genre categorization, something admits was intentional, both lyrically and musically. "This is a hip-hop record but we didn't go into this with hip-hop on our mind," says "We were just thinking of good songs, good music. We didn't want to say anything typical, like 'My style is this, and my rhymes are like that.' A couple might have slipped in but we were really tired of saying things like that."

Elephunk was recorded in three different spurts over the last two years, beginning in 2001. "We would record about eight songs each time," remembers "Then each time we went back, I felt I'd changed and grown as a producer. So we'd do eight more songs, and those eight would be better than the previous eight. It kept going until we were done."'s rhymes are clever and irreverent but it's his work as a producer on Elephunk that he's most proud of. Songs like "Where Is The Love," with Justin Timberlake, the quickstepping fast-rap of "Hands Up," and the Louis Armstrong growl of "Smells Like Funk," demonstrate not just a sophisticated ear for new sounds but a head for interesting arrangements and tight songwriting.'s talent lies in his ability to mold live instruments, samples and drum machines into a uniform sound. He's always taken a musically broad perspective and on this album, it shows more than ever.

"My volition as a producer has definitely grown," he says. "I think my understanding of music has grown, I've discovered new ways of manifesting my thoughts into reality, and I know my equipment better."

Elephunk also welcomes a new member into the BEP fold ­ Los Angeles native Fergie. The singer met at BEP shows around town and was invited to join in on a recording session. In the studio, one song turned to three turned to five turned to an invitation to join the group. Says Fergie about her experience, "This group is just totally open to new ideas and directions."

Some of those new directions on Elephunk include songs like "Anxiety," which matches The Black Eyed Peas with popular platinum rock band Papa Roach, whom they met and bonded with on tour. The group's are really similar says "The energy between us was thick. When we started talking to them, it was a real conversation, like we were 60 and just hangin' out at a bus stop."

The song itself relates the tension of the world today with personal struggles the members of the different groups have gone through into one, hard-hitting rhythmic jam. "These last couple of years haven't been easy," says "Is it guilt? Stress? Uncertainty over what's going to happen in the next five years? Is it rap? Hip-hop? The fact that everyone is clubbin' and gun totin' and we're thought of as just some fashionable motherfuckers? It's a whole bunch of stuff going on."

Overall, couldn't be happier with the way the album's turned out, and he feels people will be open to the new directions The Black Eyed Peas are going in. "The audience is smarter than they've ever been," he says. "Maybe ten years ago, they were run-of-the-mill, but these kids today aren't the same. They've got it together."

The Black Eyed Peas All Music Guide Biography
The Black Eyed Peas transcended hip-hop to become one of the most commercially successful pop groups of the 2000s. Their career began modestly, with a pair of albums inspired by the positive-minded likes of A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. After adding Fergie, the group's pop instincts reached full flight. Ignited by the Top Ten hit "Where Is the Love?" and the Grammy-winning party anthem "Let's Get It Started," the group scored three multi-platinum albums in 2003's Elephunk, 2005's Monkey Business, and 2009's The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies). While still connected to hip-hop, the group's sound turned toward dance-pop -- a savvy move that transformed them from a cult act into a mainstream phenomenon. The group's earliest connections go back to the early '90s, when high schoolers (William James Adams Jr.) and Pineda Lindo Jr.) were part of Tribal Nation, a breakdancing crew. Eventually the pair focused more on music and split off on their own as Atban Klann, their esoteric name an acronym for A Tribe Beyond a Nation. Eazy-E'sRuthless Records signed the group in 1992, but many in the Ruthless camp were puzzled by the group and the enthusiasm of Eazy, who had no problem reconciling his own gangsta style with the affable, peace-minded spirit of Atban. Although an album was recorded, Ruthless shelved it, unsure how to market a group whose style wasn't dependent on violent braggadocio like that of N.W.A. The death of Eazy-E in 1995 signaled the end of any further deals with Ruthless. Undaunted by the experience, and recruited another dancer/MC, Taboo (Jaime Luis Gómez), and reappeared as the Black Eyed Peas. BEP began playing shows around their native L.A., impressing hip-hop fans with their mike skills and dazzling them with their footwork as well. In 1998 their debut, Behind the Front, was released on the Interscope label to critical acclaim -- not only for the trio of MCs, but also for their live band and backing vocalist Kim Hill. It was a modest commercial success, but it did not leave much of an impact, peaking at number 129 on the Billboard 200. BEP's 2000-issued sophomore release, Bridging the Gap, featured guest appearances from Jurassic 5's Chali 2na, De La Soul, and Macy Gray. "Request Line," a single that reached number two on Billboard's rap chart, helped the album perform significantly better than the debut. A corner was turned soon after the addition of Fergie(Stacy Ann Ferguson). Formerly featured on the television program Kids Incorporated and a member of Wild Orchid (a late-'90s all-woman trio pitched somewhere between Lisa Stansfield and En Vogue), she replaced Kim Hill and took on a prominent role with her confident, forthright vocals. BEP's first album with Fergie, 2003's Elephunk, stormed the Top 40 with three singles -- "Where Is the Love?" (a Top Ten hit), "Hey Mama," and "Let's Get It Started." Two years later, the quartet returned with Monkey Business, which pushed BEP into the pop stratosphere courtesy of the hit singles "Don't Phunk with My Heart" and "My Humps." In the U.S., it went triple platinum. Fergie released a solo album,Dutchess, the following year. It was no slouch either, as it racked up three number one singles. The album was executive produced by -- by that point an in-demand producer for the likes of Kelis, Diddy, John Legend, Ciara, and Nas -- who reentered the solo game with the 2007 album Songs About Girls. Technically his third solo project, it followed a pair of adventurous, low-key affairs issued on the BBE label earlier in the decade. After the hiatus, the Black Eyed Peas announced their return in March 2009 with "Boom Boom Pow," the first of three number one singles -- which, together, topped the charts for half of the entire year -- featured on The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies), an album released that June. They quickly followed it up, issuing The Beginning the following year. Despite a boost from Oprah, who selected the album as one of The Oprah Winfrey Show's Favorite Things for 2010, as well as a Top Ten debut, The Beginning didn't sell nearly as many copies as the group's previous work. ~ Andy Kellman & Wade Kergan, Rovi