The Black Eyed Peas
Hailing from Los Angeles, the Black Eyed Peas date back to the early 1990s, when group founders Will.I.Am and Apl de Ap parlayed their breakdancing skills into a band called Atban Klann. Eazy-E eventually signed them to Ruthless Records, although the label didn't really know how to market their non-violent sound, and their album was shelved. After Eazy passed away, they picked up a third member, Taboo, and began performing around L.A. as Black Eyed Peas. Known for their positive lyrics and lively show, complete with singers and dancers, they developed a strong buzz, which led to a deal with Interscope and their 1998 debut, Behind the Front. They returned with Bridging the Gap two years later, bulking up their sound through collaborations with Premier, Mos Def and De La Soul, among others. For their third LP, 2003's Elephunk, the group added singer Fergie to the mix, moved away from their backpacker roots and towards a slick pop sound, and scored enormous hits. Singles "Let's Get It Started" and "Where Is the Love?" which launched them into the stratosphere and paved the way for extensive touring, advertising work, and a Grammy Award. Three more albums as a group (plus solo turns from both Fergie and will) propelled them into a heavily dance-pop sound -- and even higher up the charts -- before the Peas went on indefinite hiatus in 2011.