Apl.de.ap was born in Sapang Bato, Angeles City, Pampanga, in the Philippines, to a Filipino mother and an African American father. His father, a U.S. airman stationed at Clark Air Base, abandoned the family shortly after his birth; his mother Cristina Pineda raised Apl and his six younger siblings as a single mother. Two of his siblings are deceased: his younger brother Arnel committed suicide. His youngest brother, Joven Pineda Deala, was murdered at the age of 22 in February 2009 in Porac, Pampanga.
As a child, Apl would make an hour-long jeepney trip to and from school, and helped his family subsist by farming sweet potatoes, corn, sugar cane and rice. The Pearl S. Buck Foundation, an organization that finds healthier living environments for young abandoned or orphaned Amerasian children, matched him with a sponsor named Joe Ben Hudgens through a dollar-a-day program. He initially came to the United States at the age of 11 to treat nystagmus, an involuntary movement of the eyes. During a trip to Disneyland, Apl expressed his interest in staying in the United States. It would take another three years for Hudgens to officially adopt him, but at fourteen he moved permanently to the United States to live with Hudgens.
In Los Angeles, he attended John Marshall High School and he met William Adams (stage name will.i.am), the nephew of Hudgens' roommate.
Apl's early musical influences were Stevie Wonder, The Eagles, The Beatles, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Leaders of the New School and the popular Filipino rock/folk group, Asin. Apl was introduced to hip-hop by break dancing. "I would take the jeepney all the way to Angeles City, and that's how I got introduced to break dancing," he said. "I would see kids at the corner break-dancing and I'm like, 'I wanna do that.'"
He and will.i.am formed a break-dancing crew called Tribal Nation and performed regularly at Southern California parties and events. From 1992-1995, their crew was re-named Atban Klann (ATBAN stands for a terrific "A Tribe Beyond a Nation") and included MC Mookie Mook, performer Dante Santiago and producer DJ Motiv8. Atban Klann was eventually signed onto Eazy-E's label, Ruthless Records but Eazy-E's death put an end to their debut album Grass Roots. He performed the Boom Boom Pow song.
Apl has brought his Filipino culture into his collaboration with the Black Eyed Peas. He explains his life story in a song called "The Apl Song" on the Peas' 2003 album Elephunk, which includes a full chorus in Tagalog sampled from the Asin song "Balita." The accompanying video, which includes cameos by fellow Filipino-Americans Dante Basco and Chad Hugo, is also a tribute to the Filipinos who fought for the U.S. in World War II; the song reached number one in the Philippines.
"Bebot" (which is Filipino slang for pretty woman) is another all-Tagalog song on 2005's Monkey Business album. A music video for "Bebot" was filmed in and around Los Angeles in early July 2006, including in Kenneth Hahn Park, where Dr. Dre's "Nuthin' but a "G" Thang" video was also filmed; the video features primarily Filipinos, Filipino Americans and other Asian-Americans from the Los Angeles area. The video was directed by Patricio Ginelsa who also directed "The Apl Song" and produced the Filipino-American coming of age movie The Debut. The single was not released in the US but was in the Philippines and several other Asian countries.
Apl.de.ap is working on a solo album. He recently disclosed in an interview that he would be collaborating with fellow Filipino-American Chad Hugo of The Neptunes and Illmind from G-Unit to incorporate traditional Filipino instruments into his songs. Some of his songs are uploaded on his MySpace page. On January 3, 2009, he debuted the first single, You Can Dream featuring Billy Crawford, from his upcoming album on the internationally broadcast Philippine variety/game show Wowowee. In August, he released a music video for his second single named Mama Filipina.
Apl.de.ap started the Apl Foundation. It is committed in giving back to communities and children within the Philippines and throughout Asia. He also started his own music company called Jeepney Music, Inc. It is currently based in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California. It currently handles DJs such as Free School, DJ Rockyrock, DJ MIA, and PoetNameLife.
Apl.de.ap recorded another tagalog song for Black Eyed Peas' fifth studio album, "The E.N.D.", the song is called "Mare". In 2009, he also had a song entitled "Take You to The Philippines" that is hitting the airwaves in the Philippines. The song is in partnership with the Department of Tourism of the Philippines.