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Musicians: Black Eyed Peas

Although this group is a hip-hop sensation now, its first attempt in 1992 was shelved. Starting members Will.i.am (William Adams), Apl.de.ap (Allen Pineda), and Dante Santiago originally signed with Eazy E’s Ruthless Records as Atban Klann (abbreviation for “A Tribe Beyond A Nation”. Their first album was never released, since Atban’s peaceful themes did not agree with the more marketable, gangster-style that was popular at the time.

The group was reborn without Santiago as Black Eyed Peas in 1995, with the addition of MC/dancer Taboo (Jaime Gomez) and singer Kim Hill. They performed in local clubs all around Los Angeles for three years before the release of their first album, Behind the Front. The album was a critical success, and they soon followed up with Bridging the Gap in 2000.

Kim Hill left the group that year, but she was replaced by female vocalist, Stacy Ferguson (aka Fergie). 2003 was their breakout year with the Elephunk album and their first hit “Where is the Love”, which was an anthem against hatred. The success of Elephunk put BEP in the spotlight more than any other hip-hop group ever did before.

One song that contributed to the group’s success was “Let’s Get it Started” which was originally written as “Lets Get Retarded”, but later retooled with new name for an NBA finals commercial.

The phenomenal success of Elephunk led to an 18-month world tour, where they worked on their 2005 release, Monkey Business. The album included such hits as “Don’t Phunk with My Heart”, “Don’t Lie”, and “My Humps”. It also contained the loud party song “Pump It”, which debuted on a Best Buy commercial. The acclaim generated for their newest work has shown that the group shows no signs of slowing down.

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