MAY 25, 2005.
In the business of hit-making, there’s no monkeying around! With the release of their fourth studio album Monkey Business, The Black Eyed Peas proved they had lasting power. “Turn up the radio, blast your stereo right!” is exactly what will.i.am, Fergie, apl.de.ap and Taboo said on “Pump It” and had fans doing on this day in 2005 when their infectious jams were in heavy rotation.
Phunking on Top
Setting off the second Fergie-Peas era was the slightly comedic/funky hip pop/dance hit “Don’t Phunk With My Heart,” sometimes censored as “Don’t Mess With My Heart” on radio. Still, even the play on words couldn’t stall the Peas from reaching the Billboard Hot 100’s Top 5 and going on to win them their second Grammy Award.
True to Peas form they brought in heavy hitter collaborators, including Godfather of Soul James Brown (“They Don’t Want Music”). Critically acclaimed Hip Hop and R&B talents Q-Tip, Talib Kweli, CeeLo, and John Legend joined them on “Like That.” Plus they ruined with “Where Is The Love?” crooner Justin Timberlake for the Timbaland produced “My Style.”
The Rise of Fergie
Though if 2005’s Monkey Business LP proved anything for The Black Eyed Peas it was that Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson could truly lead a BEP song and stand as a solo star in her own right. The Fergie led track “My Humps” went on to peak at number 3 on the Hot 100 and win The Black Eyed Peas their third Grammy in as many years. Prematurely ending the chart run of second single “Don’t Lie” when it began getting unsolicited radio airplay, the cheeky was the album’s third single. Originally intended for The Pussycat Dolls, will.i.am clearly recognized the song’s hit potential and kept it; effectively making Fergie a star and giving Nicole’s group (and himself) a top 20 hit with “Beep.”
It’s no surprise that less than a year later Fergie ended up releasing her first solo single “London Bridge.” Her debut solo album The Dutchess went on to be certified 5X Platinum and yield three number one hits, including the aforementioned lead single. Fergie’s status as a solo star only elevated status of the The Black Eyed Peas.
Aside from catapulting Fergie to solo superstar status, The Black Eyed Peas 4th body of work continued to showcase how genreless the Peas could be and how vast their influences were. “Ba Bump” showcases the groups fond love for their core base, Hip-Hop. apl.de.ap shows love to the Philippines and his life growing up during the dance floor ready “Bebot” (Filipino slang for babe). The band’s unifying tone returns for “Union” featuring Sting, which interpolates the jazzy reggae vibe of his 1988 single “Englishman In New York.”
Pumped Up Peas
“The energy never died,” track after track, as the infectious dance hit “Pump It” capped off the album’s singles, ending the era on a high just as “Let’s Get It Started” did for Elephunk. It was the perfect end to make listeners crave more BEP jams!
The hits Monkey Business produced perfectly positioned The Black Eyed Peas to dominate the music world when they returned. Even though fans had to wait until 2009 for new music, the band toured during the years in-between to build anticipation.
Its the steady climb from Elephunk to Monkey Business to what may be peak Peas during The E.N.D. that allowed the most recognized incarnation of the band to perform all over the world, break records, win three more Grammy’s and even headline the 2011 Super Bowl XLV Halftime Show. Not bad for Monkey Business!