BLACK EYED PEAS

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The Black Eyed Peas are an American hip hop crew from Los Angeles, who have lately enjoyed massive international pop success. As Atban Klann, they signed to Ruthless Records (run by Eazy-E), but their album was never released because the positive and peaceful lyrics were too unusual for Ruthless. The group is composed of Will.i.am, Apl.de.ap, Taboo, and Fergie.

After Eazy-E died of AIDS in 1995 (see 1995 in music), Atban Klann reformed as the Black Eyed Peas and released a debut, Behind the Front (1998, 1998 in music) that earned the group (and their accompanying live band) critical acclaim. Their other album is 2000's Bridging the Gap (2000 in music).

Their breakthrough album Elephunk was released in 2003, featuring a new female vocalist, called Fergie, born as Stacy Ferguson who used to be in a teen pop band named Wild Orchid. She is the replacement of background singer Kim Hill who departed the band during 2000.

From 'Elephunk' came the anti-war anthem 'Where Is The Love?', which became their first major hit, peaking at #8 on the US 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 album subsequently spawned 'Shut Up', which failed in the US but peaked at UK #2 (despite being referred to by one reviewer as 'The single most vacuous, pointless, vile and generally loathsome song in a generation') and topped the charts in many other European countries including France and Germany.

Indeed the band have enjoyed greater mainstream success in Europe than in the US with 'Elephunk' going Top 10, gold and (sometimes multi-)platinum in the UK, Germany and many other European markets, yet ultimately failing to break the US Top 10, although it did go platinum there. The third single from the album, 'Hey Mama' hit the Top 10 in the UK, Germany and several other European countries, and reached the Top 30 of the US Hot 100. Controversially, a reference to 'dropping bombs like we in the Middle East' was edited out of some versions of 'Hey Mama'.

The current line-up of the Black Eyed Peas as of 2004 (not including supporting band members) is: will.i.am, apl.de.ap, Taboo, and newcomer FergieĀ­.