Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.
With their diverse, hip-hop-based persona, it was unlikely that Black Eyed Peas would get their biggest break from pop star Justin Timberlake.
But his uncredited vocal on the Peas' new single, "Where Is the Love?," has the quartet cooking on top 40 radio. The power-of-positivity-themed song jumped to No. 36 on Billboard's Hot 100 last week, while the outfit's fourth album, "Elephunk," is due June 24 on A&M.
The Peas are building upon the success of their previous sets, "Behind the Front" and "Bridging the Gap," which have sold 258,000 and 197,000 copies in the U.S., respectively, according to Nielsen SoundScan. While neither went gold, the band created opportunities that helped it sustain visibility -- such as a Dr Pepper commercial.
"That allowed us to remain in the corporate marketplace," Peas frontman will.i.am says. "There are a lot of things we did on our own that solidified us putting out a third album. When we went in to record, we were in the mindset that this album should be all about creativity, because it could be the last one."
The Peas will be tapping that creativity as they fill opening slot on this summer's Justified and Stripped tour, featuring Timberlake and Christina Aguilera. The group knows that their part on the bill, which kicked off June 4 in Phoenix, will set the tone for each night.
"The only thing we can rely on with this show is us," will.i.am says. "We don't have lights, explosions, TV screens, smoke, etc. The only thing we have to rock the house is our spontaneity."
Excerpted from the June 28, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com Premium Services section.
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