When Stacy Ann Ferguson joined the critically acclaimed but commercially underperforming rap trio Black Eyed Peas in 2003, she was still the second most famous Fergie in the world. But while she had yet to overtake the Duchess of York in online search results, the singer was no rookie, either. Born in 1975, the Los Angeles native already had nearly two decades of showbiz experience under her belt, first as a child actor and then as a member of ’90s R&B hopefuls Wild Orchid. Her passionate presence not only pushed the Peas out of the conscious-hip-hop fringes into the pop mainstream (thanks in large part to her angelic chorus turn on the inspirational anthem “Where Is the Love?”), her mischievous, sensuous energy utterly transformed the group into the pre-eminent party machine of the 2000s. Fergie didn’t just feature on some of the decade’s most ubiquitous bops, she practically changed the way we spoke: For a while there, it became impossible to utter the words “shut up” without mimicking Fergie’s incessant hook from the Peas single of the same name, while 2005’s heavy-breathing hit “My Humps” effectively replaced “booty” as rap’s posterior metaphor of choice. Inevitably, Fergie’s ample star power demanded a solo showcase, and her multi-platinum 2006 debut, The Dutchess, established her as a Madonna-esque pop polymath who could pull off raunchy Miami-bass throwbacks (“Fergalicious”) and heart-squeezing acoustic balladry (“Big Girls Don’t Cry”) with equal aplomb. After the Peas went on hiatus following 2010’s The Beginning, Fergie resurfaced in 2017 to both announce her departure from the group and drop her second solo effort, Double Dutchess, whose manic trap banger “M.I.L.F. $” raucously reintroduced a veteran artist ready to out-sass a new generation of rap divas.
HOMETOWNHacienda Heights, CA
BORN27 March 1975