Black Eyed Peas released their eighth studio album, Translation, on Friday, June 19th. It’s the US pop troupe’s second album since the departure of vocalist Fergie. And her absence is felt – 10 of the album’s first 11 tracks feature a guest vocalist.

So what happened between the Peas and Ms. Fergalicious? The core trio of Will.i.am, Taboo and Apl.de.ap revealed the reason for her exit in a recent Billboard article.

“We try to keep in touch,” said Will.i.am. “We reach out every once in a while and say our hellos and happy birthdays and Merry Christmas and Happy Easter. She knows where we’re at! We’re at the studio. And we love her, and she’s focusing on being a mom.”

Fergie gave birth to her first child, Axl Jack Duhamel, in August 2013. She played no part in the Peas’ next album, 2018’s Masters of the Sun.

“[Being a mum is] a hard job and that’s what she really wants to do and we’re here for her,” continued Will.i.am. “And she knows how to contact us for a retreat or a breakaway. It’s really the way Fergie designed it, so we’re respecting her design. We love Fergie, and we don’t want anything but awesomeness for her.”

Fergie – born Stacy Ferguson – joined BEPs in 2002 and was instrumental in the group’s mainstream occupation across the remainder of the decade. Her first album with the band was 2003’s Elephunk, which contained the singles ‘Let’s Get It Started’, ‘Hey Mama’, ‘Shut Up’ and ‘Where Is the Love?’

The group’s next full-length release was an even bigger smash. Released almost exactly 15 years prior to Translation, Monkey Business soared to the top of the ARIA charts and debuted in the US and UK top tens. The album’s global dominance was largely thanks to the singles ‘Don’t Phunk With My Heart’, ‘My Humps’ and ‘Pump It’.

The Peas’ tenure at the top continued with their 2009 LP, The E.N.D. Led by the ubiquitous ‘I Gotta Feeling’, The E.N.D was the group’s first US number one. Masters of the Sun failed to make an impression on the charts, however, which might explain the addition of Fergie replacement J Rey Soul for Translation.

Check out ‘Don’t Phunk With My Heart’ by The Black Eyed Peas:

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