on July 18, 2005
Some people expect hip-hop to be confined in the tight spaces of "50 Cent," "Eminem," and the current trend of "crunk" hip-hop; fortunately for us, the Black Eyed Peas are not willing to be defined in the current state of hip-hop. They are themselves and yet continuing to bend and stretch into new boundaries. That is what makes the Black Eyed Peas special. It is also makes this album much more special.
When Elephunk came out, there was much dismay over the addition of Fergie and the seeming thrust into the mainstream for the Black Eyed Peas. Who knows how Fergie came about as a group member but it was obvious that she was welcomed and loved by the boys as well as the masses. What made her addition special is that she was not going to be the "new" member but rather an equal partner in the group. She was not relegated to being a backup singer but a true memebr of the band. Good for her, good for the boys, great for all of them. It makes you wonder how it is okay for men to change and grow into new areas (such as Andre from Outkast) but when a woman can create change for a group, it is seen as selling out. It would seem that some people's attitudes towards Fergie is rather sexist.
For me, the egalitarian partnership is "formulatively" refined in "Monkey Business" with applause. Witht he hip-hop scene relegated to either trendy Reggaeton (sp?), the tiresome "bling-hop," and "crunk," it is great to hear a hip-hop band stretch the boundaries into new areas. The album is simply fun and it takes you everywhere. I love it. There is a little bit of everything of everybody and everybody different moods. From the inclusion of raggae, dancehall, trip-hop, jazz, old soul, it invigorates a rather dead hip-hop scene. You can tell that BEP just has a lot of love for many different types of music. I would consider Los Angeles' BEP akin to the East Coast's Mos Def, Common, and Talib Kweli (though I would not say they have the same sound) who are willing to tread in groumds that "mainstream" hip-hop treads. Simply put, this album is great. For those who criticize BEP for not being great lyricists or not political, it's true that they are no Mos Def or Common, but they are very political. I think more political than they've ever been. Take a listen to Union, Don't Lie, My Humps, and Gone Going and you'll hear that they are really pushing a good message. Plus they are really creative in how they use beats, samples, and rhythm. Love it!
Pump It - energetically weird and great to dance too! 4/5
Don't Phunk With My Heart - Love the 80ish, Bollywood, drum-and-bassish sound. 4/5
My Style - It really sounds like everyone involved had a lot of fun with this one. Not my fave but seemed like a great group jam! 3/5
Don't Lie - Oooh! I love this song! Love the lyrics and Fergie's reggaish chorus! Such a great message! 5/5
My Humps - What could easily be misconstrued as an inappropriate sexist music is really a parody towards materialism specically materialistic women (aka golddiggers). If you listen to it, BEP isn't condoning but actually giving a warning about 'dem girls. Fergie is great in this one! I didn't think she could actually rhyme but she's way better than Ciara or any of them could be. 4/5
Like That - OOOOOHHHH!!!! My fave of the album! Love the collabos of the artists! Love Talib as guest on this one. 5/5
Dum Diddly - Had a little bit of dancehall and raggaeton in it. Great dance track. 3/5
Feel It - Yes I can feel it. Mellow party music! 4/5
Gone Going - I love how they are such speaking out against the "blingers." Love the chorus. I hope they put this video out. I wish our youngster would take a listen to this one. 5/5
They Don't Want Music - Unfortunately, tis true! It's not my favorite arrangement but it is one of my favorite set of lyrics. 4/5
Disco Club - Didn't really feel this one as much but maybe it'll grow on me. 3/5
Bebot - Apl's Song Part 2. Not my favorite music arrangement but I can understand it and can relate. I'm impressed Apl can actually rhyme in Tagalog. Good for him and good for the BEP for including this all Tagalog track! Salamat! 3/5
Ba Bump - Didn't feel this one but like Disco Club, maybe it'll grow on me. It has my head bobbin though. 3/5
Audio Delite at Low Fidelity - At first, I didn't like it all all, but I grew to really like the old skool approach of this un. This is an homage to th old skoolers. 4/5
Union - Another favorite! I love the arrangement. The best arrangement of the album. And Sting's addition was a serendipitous surprise. Maybe it's because I'm getting to my late 20s. It has such a great message and rather political. I really hope a video can come out for this one. 5/5
A big phunky follow up to 2003's Elephunk from a group that invented and perfected a revolutionary new hip hop beat. With their trademark crazy lyrics, irresistible dance beats and catchy hooks, along with their unmistakable appeal and charisma, will.i.am, apl.de.ap, Taboo and Fergie come across as fresh, different, and let's face it, interesting.
The album blasts off with an aptly named heart-pumper called "Pump It", and then smoothly slides into their first hit "Don't Phunk With My Heart", a dance floor conquering song. The next single may well be "My Style", thanks to the input of Justin Timberlake who was a lucky charm on the last album with "Where is the Love?"
The funniest song of the album is "My Humps", and another good one is "Dum Diddley" which adapts a Caribbean beat similar to Akon's "Belly Dancer". For a '70s trip down memory lane you can try "Feel It", and for a real old time funk experience you can't beat "They Don't Want Music" featuring the one and only James Brown.
Another interesting combination can be found on "Gone Going Gone" with Jack Johnson, and Sting's input on "Union" is unmistakable for anyone familiar with his "Englishman in New York".
Coming behind "Elephunk" this one does not disappoint, and is an "Audio Delite" at any fidelity.
Amanda Richards, June 7, 2005
If "Elephunk" introduced the Black Eyed Peas to multiple genres of listeners, then "Monkey Business" is definitely the wake-up call for those lagging behind. With influences from pop, hip-hop, R&B, soul and roots music, BEP have melded their four minds together to make one heck of an album.
It's a definite step-up from "Elephunk," offering new and varied sounds on each song on the album. The initial release is "Don't Phunk With My Heart." It bridges the gap between "Elephunk" and "Monkey Business" but has a hard driving, almost techno feel to it. "Pump It" is probably my favorite song on this disc, being that it has some killer Dick Dale guitar loops in it. I wonder how many BEP fans actually know who Dick Dale is? Also, Justin Timberlake appears here again, but the real gems, the important ones, are James Brown and Sting. The Godfather of Soul lends some funk to "They Don't Want Music," another of my favorites that targets the modern music listener who doesn't really want music, just a beat to move to. "Bebot" is another cool tune on this disc.
The entire album is solid, no filler to be found.
If you enjoy funk, hip-hop, pop, or even a little surfer music, "Monkey Business" has a little of all of that here. Like I stated before, this is definitely an improvement on "Elephunk," because it will surely meet a larger audience AND the BEP won't sound like sell-outs. That's a hard thing to do these days.
on June 7, 2005
Sure, this CD isn't a a lot like the older BEP albums but it still packs a punch. The highlight for me was the amazing variety in the tracklist... pure hip hop, pop, funk... the diversity displayed by the group and the way it's all put together is fantastic.
1. Pump It - This first track packs a punch, using an old Dick Dale sample you'll probably recognise from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. 9/10
2. Don't Phunk With My Heart - First single release, solid tune if a little poppy. 9/10
3. My Style - featuring JT but more hip hop sounding this time. I like the beat on this one a lot 9/10
4. Don't Lie - One of my favourites, though probably not with those who prefer the old BEP style. An almost-calypso style beat and kinda catchy hook. I imagine this will be a future release. 10/10
5. My Humps - Lyrically, one of the weaker tunes but Fergie shines on this one in comparison with her previous songs. 7/10
6. Like That - Brilliant hip-hop tune featuring Kweli, Q-Tip, John Legend and Cee Lo. Talib Kweli kills it. 10/10
7. Dum Diddly - Sounds a lot like Hey Mama from Elephunk. Will probably be released, I reckon it'll be played out in clubs. 8/10
8. Feel It - Nice, laid back tune. Car radio material. :P
9. Gone Going - The Peas show their diversity here with an acoustic guitar sample. Jack Johnson supplies the hook and some great lyrics about material possessions. 9/10
10. They Don't Want Music - Funky track with legend, James Brown. Another favourite. 10/10
11. Disco Club - Darker beat than most of the rest of the CD on this track. Solid track. 8/10
12. Bebot - Odd track all in Phillipino. Good vibes but I've yet to find a translation. I'm feeling this one though. 9/10
13. Ba Bump - Feeling the beat on this one. Head-bobbing track. 8/10
14. Audio Delite At Low Fidelity - Lyrics hot. Cool beat too. Kind of reminds me of Blackalicious' CD Blazing Arrow, especially at the end where it fades to 'Change, Change, the whole world needs a change' 9/10
15. Union - Another favourite of mine. Great track with meaninful lyrics. Catchy hook and beat. Perfect. 10/10
I'd recommend that you listen to this before you buy it as past BEP fans may not feel it as much as their previous CDs. If you like Elephunk though, I think you'll like this. The way the tracks are arranged in order is another strong point - they managed to blend all of those styles wonderfully. If you like to listen to a lot of different kinds of music, this CD is for you. And just to let you know what kind of person I am to enjoy this, other artists I like are:
Hip Hop: Talib Kweli, Blackalicious, The Roots, Kanye West, K-OS, Twista
Pop: Michael Jackson, Lionel Ritchie, Usher
Funk: James Brown, Zapp and Roger
So a mix, lots of variety which is probably why I like this album.
Also, I'm hearing a few rumours that Don't Lie is the next single release so I'm happy. :)
on June 7, 2005
Yes, one can say that the Black Eyed Peas sold out. They don't really represent hip hop the way the may have implied when they first started out. Honestly, this group doesn't really represent any single genre and this album further cements their ecclecticness.
I love the way this album starts... Pump It is pure party and dance club fluff. It is fun on the ears and the lyrics are light, fun, and breezy. Don't Phunk With My Heart is also a catchy little ditty and I honestly think Fergie (who was the first hint of the Peas selling out I guess) has some killer pipes. This woman (formerly of the Wild Orchid fame) can sing. Add to that lyrics that, while not superbly hip and relevatory, are smart and swiftly delivered to a crazy beat of Middle Eastern influence. After that, each song offers something different. While the beats are there to keep the attention of the listener, it becomes obvious that some of the material was rushed. While many will fault the Black Eyed Peas with writing sloppy rhymes and selling out, no one can really fault them for not having a good time with this record. What this album lacks with fresh style and endearing substance is made up at least halfway with the energy of the performers. They are having a blast doing what they are doing and that makes me feel plesant as I listen to harmless entertainment fluff that promises a good time and nearly delivers that.
And on the note of these musicians selling out... The Black Eyed Peas have always seemed to venture outside of the boxed genere they began with. I doubt you could truly consider this selling out as opposed to being creatively versatile to sample new styles and gimmiks... and even if it all seems to be for the "bottom line" it still is something they are doing for themselves and the fans of theirs who know they have a bit of an ecclectic edge.
So... overall... some hiccups here and there but an album worth every cent I paid for it.
on January 19, 2006
Congratulations, Black Eyed Peas! The "song" "My Humps" on this album is so atrocious, it earned the ever coveted "Worst Song of the Year" award on Something Awful! Way to go! [...]
on July 15, 2005
That so many people who reviewed this new trick gave it such a low rating and try to sound like they know hip-hop... from Korea to England, and all the way to Germany, all I read about is "sellouts", "fake hip-hop", etc. - you cats know what REAL hip-hop is? It ain't rap! it's a culture! Of course, you wouldn't know that if you weren't around when it developed - I grew up in the Bronx during the Furious Five era and saw it thru KRS-One and (sadly enough), Bad Boy records' cannibalizing the industry (yep, that includes Biggie)... before you talk about it, make sure you really know about it (and not live your little "hip-hoppin'" lives thru the reality you call your headphones). It's great that we still have groups like BEP who keep things fun. Hip hop WAS fun; it talked about stuff we liked to do and not about the violence we like to lay on someone; it's not about being hard; it's not about cappin' someone - it's about an outlet we use to "escape" the reality that we call Da 'Hood. So for all you cats who preach that hip-hop is fake rap, y'all better check yo'self! As for the wannabe that said you had to say something to be considered hip-hop, let me remind you of Afrika Bambataa, The Furious Five, Whodini, Das Efx, UMCs, Fu-Schnickens, Nice
on May 2, 2006
I notice from the reviews I see here that this is a pretty polarizing album. Some hate it because it's vapid, others love it because the beats are out-of-control awesome. No one is wrong.
Like Dr. Dre once did, the Black Eyed Peas have come up with a sound that is totally attractive and fairly uniquely theirs. If I were a sound editor, I might be able to say what it's from---a set of instruments they use, a crispness of editing, something else? I don't know what it is, but they make pretty much the bumpingest beats ever. Nearly all the instrumental tracks on this album are just awesome (my favorite is Pump It). They make you want to move! I listen to this album when I run.
While I'm running, I try not to concentrate on the lyrics, because they are horrible. Sometimes, as with "Union" or "Gone Going," they manage to issue a vague simplistic preachiness. Most of the time, lyrics are filler---monosyllabic rhymes not really meant to be listened to. Often, words are actually rhymed with themselves. Vocals, all in all, serve as another instrument supporting the beats, which are the true points of the songs. Note how many of the actual TITLES here are nonsense or onomanopoeia: Dum Diddly, Ba Bump, arguably "Pump It," and, as far as non-Tagalog-speakers are concerned, "Bebot." If the titles are gibberish, we shouldn't expect much in the way of lyrical content.
But listen to "Bebot." It bumps! You don't particularly CARE that you don't understand the lyrics, right? Well, with this whole album, you're not supposed to care about the lyrics. Just enjoy the excellent instrumental production.
(If you do want intricate, virtuostic, elegant, thoughtful lyrics over great beats, I recommend Blackalicious. But still, it's a different sound than the BEPs have, and it's not as truly catchy.)
on August 14, 2005
I thought that when I stopped listening to radio stations, I could avoid the slick, soulless, meaningless music product that is popular music these days. But it's impossible. I've just seen the Black Eyed Peas yet again on my TV--this time plugging either Whoppers or cell phones, I don't know--so there's really no escape.
Since I now have to see them as well as hear them, I've noticed one thing: the Black Eyed Peas are a straight version of the B-52s.
on June 28, 2005
BEP has come a long way from music changes to style changes and now a new member. Ever since thier last album they have become more popular and putting my thoery to the test. The thoery of what happens when a group who is loved, but whose music is not so popular becomes popular? Are they considered selling out or Pop music now? I see some already saying yes in some reviews but I have to disagree on that one. BEP has always been a lil different in style and might not have been so popular becasue of maybe thier sound, style or widespread appeal. Overall BEP is still BEP on this one with a new added flavor....Fergie.....still in the mix of things to continue the vision of BEP. Nothing can progress without change and I think with fergie in the mix they had to change things a bit to include her in the mix....and I think they changed it well. It seems that thier albums have animal themes so far but dont let this fool you from picking this up. The title might say "monkey Buisness" but they give lots more than that this time around. They have a few party tracks like "My Humps" that have tight beats with a mix of down south flavor and "Dum Didly" with reggae in the mix and then there are songs to educate you a lil and make you think like "They dont want music" and "Union". They even open up the doors on language a lil with the song "bebot" where Apl gives us hip-hop 101 in philipino. (something you wont hear everyday). Overall fans should not be dissapointed as long as you are open to hearing something new. Good tracks:
*Dont phunk with my heart
*Like That -- Very hot beat
*They dont want music
*Audio Delite at low fidelity -- They really bring the hip hop on this one
Overall this is BEP in a tweaked form from thier last album. They give you a lil taste of everything on this: old school, new school, down south, ska music, reggae, and jazz all mixed with hip hop. You couldnt ask for more and its thier style and focus to be different all across the board that will keep them seperated from the pack. Expecting regular run of the mill hip-hop?...dont get it..........but if not...take a listen! Dont just take my word for it.....Get it!!