PASADENA, California — With the Black Eyed Peas hoping to follow up Elephunk by November, solo albums from Will.I.Am and Fergie have been put on hold.
“We felt it was important to install the next Black Eyed Peas record this year with the momentum that we’ve had, which will only allow our solo adventures to be successful and continue to keep our franchise going,” Will explained in a rather businesslike fashion.
“For us, Black Eyed Peas are feeling really good right now, and for me to come out with a solo record, it just doesn’t feel right,” added Fergie. “This is a family, and we’re on a certain kind of wave and I wanna keep riding on that wave together. It’s my boys.”
The Peas will do their best to stick together going into the recording of Monkey Business (see “Black Eyed Peas To Make Their Own ‘Walk This Way’ — With The Darkness” ), although the media is starting to separate one member from the pack — in the Philippines, at least.
A recent front-page feature on the group there featured a small photo of Will, Fergie and Taboo next to a large one of Apl.de.Ap, who is Filipino.
“He was the whole size of the newspaper,” Fergie said, laughing. “Heartthrob guy!”
“He’s like the Michael Jackson of the Philippines,” Will added. “The dude is big.”
To celebrate Apl’s stardom in the Philippines, the Peas not only just played the country, but they’re releasing a single and video there for “The Apl Song,” an Elephunk track rapped partially in native Tagalog and chronicling Apl’s experiences growing up in the Philippines and visiting recently after 10 years in the United States.
Filipino director Patricio Ginelsa, who wrote and directed 2003′s “Lumpia,” directed the video with a cast and crew of fellow Filipinos, including Chad Hugo of the Neptunes and actor Dante Basco (“Biker Boyz”), who play sons of a World War II vet longing for one last trip to his homeland. Footage of Apl rapping while he flips through a family scrapbook and images of the other Peas standing next to a slide show of photos from the Philippines are intercut with the narrative.
“The way we put it down, utilizin’ what’s around,” Apl raps in the song. “Like land for farmin’, river for fishin’/ Everyone helpin’ each other whenever they can/ We makin’ it happen, from nothin’ to somethin’/ That’s how we be survivin’ back in my homeland.”
“You gotta tell the Apl story,” Will told Apl, before interrupting. “Can I tell it? Apl’s my dawg, he’s my best friend. He was adopted from a third-world country, kinda like a sponsor-child foundation. He came here in America when he was 14 in 1989. Knew no English. He learned English from a dictionary and in [language classes], mastered the language — vocabulary bigger than mine and Taboo’s combined. Hey, that rhymed. Anyways, he started rapping. We got signed to Ruthless Records in ’92, two or three years after his arrival. He went back to the Philippines 10 years later and bought his momma a jeepney [bus] and a supermarket.
“I don’t think that’s ever happened to anyone, to be adopted from a third-world country as a sponsored child and be a global international artist,” Will continued. “That’s an accomplishment, dawg. Seriously, man, the ghettos we know ain’t ghettos. This dude was pumping water out of the ground, killin’ chickens, washing his clothes on rocks.”
“What’s that pet you had?” Fergie asked an embarrassed Apl.
“Yeah, we had dogs, he had water buffalos.”