The untold truth of the Black Eyed Peas' newest member, J. Rey Soul

The Black Eyed Peas has been one of the few hip-hop groups to fluidly migrate between conscious hip-hop and pop, with a sprinkle of techno and afro-futuristic undertones to boot. No one can deny that when former female member Fergie sang, "I'm so 3008 / You so 2000 and late," she knew what she was talking about. The crew — comprised of will.i.am, Taboo, apl.de.ap, and later added member Fergie — dominated the early 2000 music charts with their party-starting songs filled with positive messaging including "Where Is the Love?," "Boom Boom Pow," and "I Gotta Feeling." 

Black Eyed Peas — briefly named Black Eyed Pods — originated in 1995 and included singer Kim Hill. In 2019, The New York Times released an Op-Docs short film titled, "I Was in The Black Eyed Peas. Then I Quit," where Hill discussed her brief time with the band before Fergie officially joined the group in 2003. 

Though Fergie later quit in 2017 after her second album, Double Dutchess, to focus on her family, per Billboardthe group continues to create chart-topping music as the foursome. Following Ferg's departure, apl.de.ap originally stated that no one would replace the singer. However, the group added singer J. Rey Soul as a member in 2018, with the star increasing her involvement in the group throughout the past few years. 

So how did J. Rey Soul get connected with the iconic hip-hop group? Well, she technically won the spot. Keep scrolling to learn the details of her journey. 

J. Rey Soul got her start on this popular franchise

In the summer of 2020, it got announced that the Black Eyed Peas added proud Phillipino-American singer J. Rey Soul — born Jessica Reynoso — to their eclectic mix. In September 2013, J. Rey Soul was a finalist in Season 1 of the singing competition show, The Voice of the Philippines. Coincidentally, apl.de.ap was a coach on the show, and J. Rey Soul was on his team. "The Voice was amazing! It was really nerve-wracking and stressful but it opened a lot of opportunities, that I could never have imagined," the singer told CelebMix in 2018.

J. Rey Soul was briefly "unofficially" added to the group in February 2018, per Distractify, but was given the green light after will.i.am's announcement that Fergie would not rejoin the group for their eighth studio album, Translation. The group, complete with J. Rey Soul, released the album's first single, "Mamacita," in April 2020 alongside Latinx rapper Ozuna.

In a 2020 Billboard interview, Taboo said the addition of J. Rey Soul felt as though they were "giving birth to a new artist," and that he wanted everyone to "give her ultimate praise and respect." Yep, it looks like the group is heading for a new sound and maybe even giving up more 3008 vibes.