Published Nov 16, 2018For almost 30 years, the Black Eyed Peas have been creating and living arts and music culture in a way that appeals to them, even if it doesn't always appeal to everyone else. From their humble beginnings as Tribal Nation to the many iterations of B.E.P., will.i.am and apl.de.ap have stayed true to a vision that has taken them from East Los Angeles to a world-renowned group who always get the party started. Their most recent album, Masters of the Sun Vol. 1, is out now.
1. Black Eyed Peas started as Tribal Nation in high school.
Before becoming the Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am (then known as Will 1X) and apl.de.ap formed the dance and music group Tribal Nation. By the 10th grade, they started performing on the club circuit, including Club What? and former Married With Children actor David Faustino's hip-hop club night at Sunset Strip club Balistyx.
2. N.W.A.'s Eazy-E signed will.i.am. and apl.de.ap to Ruthless Records.
At the height of the 1992 L.A. riots, N.W.A member and Ruthless Records co-founder Eazy-E was looking to soften the label's roster to better align with new Daisy Age trends (i.e. De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, etc.). After getting tipped off by Jerry Heller, Eazy-E went to meet 17-year old Will 1X at Balistyx, signed him and apl.de.ap to a $10K deal and re-branded them as A.T.B.A.N. Klann (A Tribe Beyond a Nation).
3. Black Eyed Peas got a $100K advance from Dr. Pepper.
Almost 20 years after Run-DMC released "My Adidas," the Black Eyed Peas did a corporate deal of their own, but with major beverage company Dr. Pepper. The brand, which enlisted B.E.P. for their 2002 commercial, gave them a $100K advance. While the commercial was a success, the group received backlash for "selling out," to which will.i.am replied, "We're an odd-ass group — why not us? I don't understand why people hate."
4. "My Humps" was criticized for "Setting Feminism back 40 years."
Despite it's popularity and mainstream success, including winning Best Hip-Hop Video at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards, the Black Eyed Peas' "My Humps" was largely criticized for its poor lyrics and lack of respect for women. The Seattle Times argued that "The song has been denounced for 'setting feminism back 40 years,'" while Rolling Stones called it "an irresistible, butt-stupid ode to Fergie's ass."
5. will.i.am credits his high school for Black Eyed Peas' worldwide success.
After being sent to Palisades Charter School in a wealthier part of town, will.i.am was introduced to new cultures and races, to which he credits B.E.P.'s success. In an interview with Billboard, he would say, "the black people hung out by the lunch tables, the Mexicans hung out by the bathroom, the white people hung out in their cars, the Asian people stood next to their lockers. I would always wander between different sections. If I didn't go to that school, the Black Eyed Peas wouldn't be what it is. I don't think we would be able to relate to every country on the planet."