Born into a family with strong gang connections–both his father and uncle were notorious gangbangers–Taboo’s life seemed destined for tragedy. Yet, Taboo never accepted this path laid out before him and refused to succumb to the hopelessness and despair that influenced the choices of so many of his peers living in poverty. With the constant support and guidance from his grandmother, Aurora, Taboo dreamed of a better life and pinned his hopes on music.
Taboo is thrown a much-needed lifeline when will.i.am and apl.de.ap invite him to join their unknown new group, the Black Eyed Peas in 1995. Working two jobs to support himself and his young son, shoveling horse manure at Disneyland and serving school lunches by day and playing gigs at night with the Black Eyed Peas–music is the only thing that keeps him sane. Living in a cockroach invested apartment that looks like a crack den, Taboo, will.i.am and apl.de.ap struggle to make ends meet and are often forced to steal food in order to stave off hunger. But their collective dream to “make it” never dies and after two tireless years of performing at clubs around L.A., their music and performances attract the interest of Interscope Records and the group is signed to a six-figure record deal.
Things come full circle for Taboo in 2007 when he’s arrested for a DUI and is placed in a jail cell with Mexican-American gang members–forcing him to come face to face with the fate he’s tried to escape his entire life. He takes stock of his life and plots a new course, without drugs and alcohol, leading him to his wonderful wife Jamie. Finding love and confidence in himself, first instilled by his grandmother Aurora, and reinforced by his new family, Taboo embraces life, and helps The Black Eyed Peas reach even higher heights, winning multiple Grammys, and breaking Billboard records to become an undeniable global phenomenon.
Fallin’ Up is the story of a dreamer’s unbreakable spirit–determined to keep getting back up each time that life’s hard knocks threaten to bring him down–“because life’s about fallin’ up, not falling down.”
Check out the Black Eyed Peas’ performance at the 2011 Super Bowl :
Taboo talks about his story: