By Kyle Anderson
November 08, 2011 at 06:20 PM EST
Chris Baldwin

There has been quite a bit of internet talk over the past few days about the future of the Black Eyed Peas. Fergie will possibly be exiting the group to focus on family, and a few sources have whispered that R&B diva Ashanti would be taking her place as the resident lady Pea in the group.

However, a rep for the Black Eyed Peas tells EW that those rumors are categorically untrue. That’s a bummer for Ashanti, since those salad days of cooing over Ja Rule tracks are well behind her.

As for the Black Eyed Peas, their future is uncertain. It’s easy to forget that the group started out as a backpacker hip-hop trio that produced two relatively well-received albums (1998’s Behind the Front and 2000’s Bridging the Gap). However, those albums weren’t the commercial powerhouses that subsequent releases were once Fergie joined the fold for 2003’s Elephunk, which began the run of über-ubiquitous hit singles that continues through today.

So it’s probably in their best interest to have a little estrogen in the group, but with Fergie taking time off and Ashanti apparently not in the running, who could take on that all-important role? Here’s a quartet of wildly speculative ideas.

Nicole Scherzinger

Pros: Scherzinger has the chops and the charisma to shine in the context of a group, and offers the same kind of pop-R&B crossover mentality that Fergie has.

Cons: Her solo career has been a bit of a non-starter, so the BEPs may feel her magic only works within the Pussycat context.

Nicki Minaj

Pros: Minaj is already on just about every hip-hop and R&B single that hits the radio anyway, so why not sign Minaj to a short-term deal? It would give the other three Peas back a blast of the hip-hop credibility they had before they took over the pop airwaves. Plus, Minaj and already have a working relationship.

Cons: There’s no hotter solo act in hip-hop right now than Minaj, so it’s unlikely she would want to join a group after such great success by herself. Plus, her personality is probably too big to fit into the context of a foursome, even one as eclectic as the Peas.

Missy Elliott

Pros: Sure, she has sworn off performing for the sake of her writing and production career, but wouldn’t it be great to have Missy back in the fold to put her thing down, flip it, and reverse it? Plus, you’d have two of the biggest hip-hop producers of the past 15 years working together in the same unit.

Cons: Misdemeanor’s style doesn’t match up particularly well with the Peas, and the contrast would probably be too great to overcome on the Peas’ poppiest moments.


Pros: Like Scherzinger, her career has been hung up by record-business nonsense, but she’s totally got the talent, the energy, and the attitude to carry the Fergie torch.

Cons: She’s barely been given the chance to establish herself as a solo artist, and packing it in at this time would be a shame. Plus, considering the dearth of collaborations she has under her belt, we have no idea if she plays well with others.

Who do you think should replace Fergie in the Black Eyed Peas? Leave your wild-eyed guesses and conspiracy theories in the comments!

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