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Unlike the "gangsta rap" sounds of Los Angeles-based hip hop acts at the time, the trio performed with a live band and adopted a conscious musical and appearance style.
After being signed to Interscope Records and releasing their debut, Behind the Front (1998) the group (and their accompanying live band) earned critical acclaim.
The pair signed to Ruthless Records (run by Eazy-E) in 1992, catching the attention of Eazy-E manager Jerry Heller's nephew.
Along with another friend of theirs, Dante Santiago, they called their trio Atban Klann (ATBAN: A Tribe Beyond a Nation).
Their fourth album, Monkey Business, was an even bigger worldwide success, certified 4× Platinum in the U.
Their third album Elephunk began development on November 2, 2001, but was not released until 2003.
It was the first album to feature the vocals of current member Fergie.
Will 1X (aka will.i.am), ap, Mookie Mook, DJ Motiv8 (aka Monroe Walker), and Dante Santiago formed Atban Klann.
Their debut album, Grass Roots, was never released due to Ruthless records founder Eazy-E's death.