The Black Eyed Peas’ career thus far can be divided into three big eras: the hip-hop era, the pop one and the dance one. Commercial success grew gradually with each reinvention – the first is the one that hardly anyone remembers, the second is where Fergie came into the picture and hits like Where Is the Love?, Don’t Phunk with My Heart, My Humps and Pump It secured the group’s position into the pop world of the 21st century. And after a 3-year hiatus where members concentrated on solo projects, The Black Eyed Peas came together again in 2009 and managed not only to top their previous successes but also break new world records.
But what exactly motivated them to return? It was will.i.am’s – the group’s main song-writer, producer and artistic leader – new-found love for electronic music. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he recalls being in Australia for the filming of X-Men Origins: Wolverine (his major acting debut) and experiencing the club culture for the first time: “I rang up my Aussie friends and said, ‘Let’s go to a hip-hop club.’ They said, ‘There’s no hip-hop here, mate. Hip-hop’s dead.’” He was eventually won over by the dance music: “It was hard, and it felt like hip-hop, only faster. The beats were fuckin’ nuts.”
This led to will.i.am inviting none other than David Guetta, one of the genre’s most famous DJ’s, to produce I Gotta Feeling. Boom Boom Pow was already ruling the charts, so the one-two punch of these songs made The Black Eyed Peas break the record for the artist with the longest uninterrupted time at #1, with 26 weeks. The record was previously held by Usher with 19 weeks.
I Gotta Feeling spent 14 consecutive weeks at number one before being dethroned by Jay Sean’s Down (featuring Lil Wayne).