In February, the Black Eyed Peas performed during Super Bowl XLV, AKA the most-watched program in the history of American television. About 111 million U.S. viewers witnessed the explosive, neon-lit fusion of break dancing, electronica, hip-hop, and R&B by the foursome of Will.i.am, Fergie, Taboo, and Apl.de.ap (as well as Slash and Usher) at Cowboys Stadium. Only a gig on Mars has eluded this juggernaut group, which sprouted considerably from Will and Apl's mid-'90s rap act, Atban Klann, which was signed to Eazy E's Ruthless Records for a time. Today, no group has arguably been "so 3008" since the Beatles, and on Thanksgiving Day, the Black Eyed Peas will finally relent from partying all the time and begin an indefinite hiatus.
Yet with the Peas, it can't be that simple. After all, the group's 2009 Bugatti with platinum rims of an album, The E.N.D., is an acronym for the Energy Never Dies. More singles from the group's latest album, The Beginning, could still follow. And the four-year break in BEP recording following 2005's Monkey Business brought out über-successful solo albums from Will.i.am and Fergie. Even those who'd down an entire vat of actual black-eyed peas if it meant never hearing the David Guetta-fied dance-floor bomb "I Gotta Feeling" at another bar mitzvah can't knock the quartet's hustle.
Taboo, AKA Jaime Gomez, is on the phone because the Black Eyed Peas are throwing a jam-packed farewell concert at Miami's Sun Life Stadium that'll make the Band's 1976 Last Waltz look like a cloudy pea soup. But he's working every angle and massages more talking points than the finest P.R. flacks into a 17-minute phone call. If this is one of the last times he'll be speaking for the group for a while, he'll make it count.
There's the Black Eyed Peas Experience video game coming next year, an upcoming DJ gig at the Latin Grammys, his jump-started acting career, his autobiography called Fallin' Up, and his shoe line (Taboo Deltah "with an h"). Plus, multiple assurances that the group. Is. Not. Breaking. Up. If Taboo stopped to take a breath during this call, it went undetected.
County Grind: What does it mean to do this farewell show in Miami?
Taboo: Miami's always been a great fan base for us. I remember doing the "Carnival" tour with Wyclef and Aaliyah and Timbaland and all these artists. We were opening up, and it felt good because those were the first installments of understanding what the Miami lifestyle was and getting a read on the fan base coming to support the Peas. Then we started to do the MTV Awards, and when we got our chance to do our own tour, Miami was pretty fresh. Miami is always a great place to party.
What do you say to the people who are relieved that the Black Eyed Peas are taking a breather now?
I would say cool. I'm relieved myself. I'm glad to be able to sit back and do my thing. The Peas' legacy will keep on living on no matter what, because each individual doing their thing will bring awareness to the Black Eyed Peas. Some people are going to be like, "Thank God the Black Eyed Peas are gone. They're everywhere." It's cool. There are some people that are glad and some people that are sad. At the end of the day, we love all our Peabodies, and we're grateful to be a strong family.
Are you going to see as much of the other members of the group as you do now?
We'll probably be doing shows together because we're all DJ'ing. We'll probably do live sets where we integrate and we'll do something together, all three of us together. Every time Will.i.am's in the studio, me and Apl will stop by. I hate when people say, "Oh, it's the end of the Black Eyed Peas. The Black Eyed Peas are breaking up." No, it's not a breakup. It's just a little break giving people some time to rejuvenate and then come back strong and compete...
The Black Eyed Peas taking a little break is something that we respect and we all agreed upon. We have to respect Ferg. Ferg is our sister. She definitely wants to have a family, and we're happy for her. And we're going to keep being a strong family being there and supporting her.
So a lot of the Black Eyed Peas' break is to give Fergie space and time to build a family?
You have to, dude. Once you start putting orders and cock-blocking certain situations, things start going sour. You can't not respect people's wishes. As our sister, we have to give her space... I don't know if they're working on that yet. She's focusing on getting through this year, finishing up strong with the Peas. When that time comes -- it doesn't just happen like "Oh, I'm pregnant tomorrow" -- it's gotta be planned out. And I think she and [husband Josh Duhamel] deserve it. They're such a great couple.
Aside from the DJ thing, you do want to pick up that solo album that you've been thinking about?
I've kind of been holding off on my individualism in the Black Eyed Peas. I was going to do a solo record in 2007 when Fergie and Will came out with one, but I held off because it wasn't the right timing. It's a big thing to me, because nobody knows I can do this on my own. It's got to be something epic. It can't be some okey-dokey style. I'm taking my time with this, but eventually I will get there.
Do you see a moment coming soon when you're sitting in a rocking chair drinking iced tea after this farewell show?
No. I go on tour right after the show. I start my DJ tour. I'm going straight into it, because I have the family to take care of. I have to get myself situated. When I get older, I'll have time to do that, but right now, it's all about getting my situation on.
Black Eyed Peas With Cee Lo Green, Flo Rida, T-Pain, Sean Kingston, Jason DeRulo, DJ Smiley, and host Queen Latifah. 6 p.m. Wednesday, November 23, at Sun Life Stadium, 2269 NW 199th St., Miami Gardens. Tickets cost $25 to $250. Visit ticketmaster.com.