Headliners: Black Eyed Peas at the Schott

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Nothing gets the haters' hackles up like a little success. So of course the Black Eyed Peas' popularity has been dogged by accusations of shameless shilling and musical profit-making. But calling them sell-outs implies that the band had some integrity to begin with. Let's look back to see whether Will.i.am and company had any scruples to scrap during their rise to the top.

1998 (cred = 6 popularity = 2)

Debut "Behind the Front" positions the Peas - former Atban Klann rappers Will.i.am and Apl.de.ap with new addition Taboo - as friendly backpackers in the vein of Jurassic 5.

2000 (cred = 5 popularity = 2)

Backup singer Kim Hill, who never appeared on their album covers, leaves the Peas while recording sophomore LP "Bridging the Gap." She later tells "The Fader" she departed due to apprehension about the group's artistic trajectory.

2000 (cred = 6 popularity = 3)

The startlingly prophetic "BEP Empire" video mocks corporate marketing of hip-hop to suburban white folks.

2001 (cred = 5 popularity = 4)

The Peas team with Macy Gray for "Request Line," which gets them MTV rotation and hints at their future transformation.

2003 (cred = 4 popularity = 8)

After pursuing future Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger, the group adds Stacy Ann Ferguson, aka Fergie, and debuts their dance-pop makeover with third album "Elephunk." Justin Timberlake collaboration "Where Is the Love?" becomes their breakthrough hit.

2004 (cred = 3 popularity = 9)

"Let's Get Retarded" becomes not just a hit single but a mission statement of sorts. The edited version, "Let's Get It Started," becomes inescapable, soundtracking movies, commercials, the NBA Playoffs and the Democratic National Convention.

2005 (cred = 3 popularity = 7)

The band follows up its breakthrough with the Will & Fergie-centric "Monkey Business" and silly/stupid/catchy single "Don't Phunk With My Heart." Will Taboo and Apl ever rap again?

2005 (cred = 1 popularity = 9)

"My hump, my hump my hump my hump, my hump my hump my hump, my lovely lady lumps." Also, Fergie pees her pants on stage in San Diego.

2006 (cred = 2 popularity = 9)

Fergie's solo career spawns more consciousness-saturating singles including "London Bridge" and "Fergalicious."

2008 (cred = 6 popularity = 9)

Will.i.am's "Yes We Can" video in support of Barack Obama's campaign becomes a viral sensation.

2009 (cred = 8 popularity = 10)

"The E.N.D." yields the Peas' first and second No. 1 singles, "Boom Boom Pow" and "I Gotta Feeling," establishing a record-setting chokehold on the top of the charts. And the songs ain't half bad!

The Black Eyed Peas

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16

Where: Schottenstein Center, Campus

Web: blackeyedpeas.com