Eazy-E signed a pre-Fergie Black Eyed Peas to his record label, Ruthless Records in 1992. At the time they group went by the moniker “Atban Klann.” A.T.B.A.N Klann (A Tribe Beyond a Nation) which consisted of Will 1X (Will.I.Am), apl.de.ap, Mookie Mook, DJ Motiv8 (a.k.a. Monroe Walker), and Dante Santiago. Will 1X and apl.de.ap were first signed by Eazy-E when they were in high school after they caught the attention of Eazy-E manager Jerry Heller’s nephew. They made their debut on Eazy-E’s EP, 5150: Home 4 tha Sick on the record “Merry Muthaphuckkin’ Xmas”.
Atban Klann’s debut album Grass Roots was supposed to be released on October 6, 1994, but the album was shelved shortly before its release. The duo (Will 1X and apl.de.ap) would stay under Ruthless Records until they were dropped from the label after Eazy-E’s death in 1995.
will.i.am and apl.de.ap recruited Taboo and later on Fergie to form The Black Eyed Peas and release hits like “Where Is the Love?,” “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling.”