Hip hop’s newest supergroup, the Black Eyed Peas, began as a partnership between childhood friends will.i.am and apl.de.ap. The rappers met in 1989 while they were both students in the eighth grade and began performing together almost immediately. After staking a claim in and around the Los Angeles area, the duo (then called Atban Klann) attracted the attention of the nephew of Eazy E’s manager Jerry Heller. Although the managed to sign a record deal, internal problems at the label ultimately left the friends without an album or a record deal. Despite the rocky start, the band forged on.
Will.i.am and Apl.de.ap added a third member to the group, their friend taboo (formerly of Grass Roots), and began performing relentlessly. Their dedication paid off and the trio hit the jackpot. At one of their shows two college students, who were interning at record labels, happened to bring down reps from their companies. The label reps were excited by the talent on stage and the Black Eyed Peas won a record deal from Interscope in 1997.
Although the Pea’s 1998 debut release Behind the Front was met to acclaim, the band failed to make a large national presence. With their latest release, 2000’s Bridging The Gap, their luck is certain to change.
Bridging the Gap melts hip-hop, trip-hop and jungle influences on a flowing, twitching release that may be one of the better urban releases of the year. Evidence of the Black Eyed Pea’s talent is found in the star-studded list of artists who lined up to work with them. Bridging The Gap features the production skills of DJ Premier, the guitars of Wyclef Jean and the voices of Jurrassic 5’s Chali 2na, De La Soul, Les Nubians, Mos Def grace and the superstar graces of Macy Gray.