The Story of ‘My Humps’ and Why the Black Eyed Peas Don’t Perform It

The Black Eyed Peas’ “My Humps” is perhaps the most divisive hit of the 2000s. To some, it’s funny and catchy. Others think it has some of the worst lyrics in the history of popular music. Regardless, no one thought of the word “humps” the same way again after hearing it.

Although the song sparked widespread derision, it became a hit. Despite this the Black Eyed Peas stopped performing it. Will.i.am explained why — and it wasn’t because of the criticism the song received.

The BLack Eyed Peas in front of a white backdrop
The Black Eyed Peas | E. Charbonneau/WireImage for Entertainment Industry Foundation

The origin of ‘My Humps’ by the Black Eyed Peas

During their heyday, the Black Eyed Peas weren’t exactly a G-rated group but they weren’t extremely sexual. In that regard, “My Humps” is an outlier in their discography of hits. According to the Manila Bulletin, Will.i.am wrote the song for the Pussycat Dolls, which makes sense.

The Pussycat Dolls had a sensual image and it seemed their singles were always about sex — except for their ballads. “My Humps” fit with their image well enough. Will.i.am produced another sexual song for them called “Beep” so “My Humps” could certainly have become a hit for the Pussycat Dolls.

How the world reacted to the song

The Black Eyed Peas together
The Black Eyed Peas | Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

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However, will.i.am ultimately allowed his own band the keep the song. This was a wise move from a commercial perspective. According to Billboard, the song reached the third position on the Billboard Hot 100. In addition, Exclaim! reports “My Humps” sold over two million units. Grammy.com said the track even won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal!

Despite this, many people took issue with the lyrics of “My Humps.” The phrase “lovely lady lumps” inspires laughter to this day. Alanis Morisette released a sad cover of the song designed as an ironic counterpoint to the original track. This, as well as Mad TV’s parody of the song, cemented it as a joke in the minds of many.

Why the Black Eyed Peas don’t perform ‘My Humps’ anymore

The Black Eyed Peas together
The Black Eyed Peas | Jeff Snyder/FilmMagic

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In 2011, the Black Eyed Peas stopped performing the song. Some might assume this is because the song’s reputation isn’t the best. In actuality, the Black Eyed Peas decision had nothing to do with the reception to “My Humps.” Will.i.am simply wasn’t satisfied with the song.

“It got to the point where we didn’t want to play ‘My Humps’ no more,” will.i.am said, according to Vulture. “You know, ‘cause ‘I met a girl down at the disco,’ I just didn’t want to say that no more, lyrically. It wasn’t like my best lyrically, but it was fun. It wasn’t lyrical miracles, but the beat was rocking, so we throw the beat in there and just let the beat linger.”

According to setlist.fm, the Black Eyed Peas did not perform the track on their most recent tour, the Masters of the Sun Tour. Will they play it again? Only time will tell.

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