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Monkey Business

The Black Eyed Peas

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Album Review

Hip-hop artists with commercial aspirations need never appear pandering to their audience, since a tough, defiant stance — aka keeping it real — is exactly what will draw in most crossover listeners anyway. Nevertheless, the Black Eyed Peas quickly embraced the pop world after the surprising success of third album Elephunk, and only continued their repositioning as a mainstream act with 2005's Monkey Business. That focus is immediately clear on the opener, "Pump It Up," where they gladly welcome listeners on a track whose sample — Dick Dale's "Misirlou," already ubiquitous before it appeared in Pulp Fiction — has to replace "Walk This Way" or "I'll Be Missing You" (more on Sting later) as the most conspicuous case of an unmissable rock riff being used on a rap track. The group moves on to motivate its hip-hop base by reaching for every trick in the grab bag of contemporary urban music. These attempts are either serviceable or wildly unsuccessful. "Disco Club" is one of the serviceable tracks, an apt re-creation of Cassidy's "Hotel." Wildly unsuccessful is the group's utilization of its newest member, Fergie, to function as an imitator of the hyper-sexual Kelis/Ciara archetype on "My Humps," which makes for one of the most embarrassing rap performances of the new millennium (sample lyric: "My hump (9x)/My lovely little lumps"). Unlike Elephunk, the Justin Timberlake feature here ("My Style") is placed early in the program, and it's bolstered by a Timbaland production, which eases the strain of an otherwise featherweight jam. Most of the songs on Monkey Business are the same type of party rap singalong that Black Eyed Peas made their name with on Elephunk. But other than "Disco Club," the only one that works as anything but background party music is "Feel It," a rare production by the group's apl.de.ap (will.i.am handles most of the rest). At the very tail end of the disc, there's one brief glance at Black Eyed Peas' history as a socially conscious group — "Union," featuring Sting and Branford Marsalis, which floats the usual bromides about peace and equality (and swipes the sound and speak of Bob Marley in the process). Monkey Business could easily sell just as well, or better, than Elephunk, but what the group made sound effortless in the past sounds a little strained here.

Customer Reviews

Fun Album

The Peas certainly aren't monkeying around on this album. The album is filled with great songs all the way through. Some highlights are "Pump It", "Don't Phunk With My Heart", "Don't Lie", "My Humps", and "My Style". I definetly recommend this album as an album to buy.

A masterpiece!

Excellent album, especially "Union" with Sting. Black Eyed Peas made a strong second album, even better than Elephunk. There songs are innovative and their remix of "Pump it" was realised with brio. The three included videos are not original but are nice to look at, especially Pump it. Buy this album!

"Monkey Buisiness" is the best!!!

The Black Eyed Peas keep making their songs better and better!!They always have great songs to listen too and too make me want to listen to them again and again and again! Keep up the great work Black Eyed Peas!!!

Biography

Formed: 1995 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Black Eyed Peas transcended hip-hop to become one of the most commercially successful pop groups of the 2000s. Their career began modestly, with a pair of albums inspired by the positive-minded likes of A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. After adding Fergie, the group's pop instincts reached full flight. Ignited by the Top Ten hit "Where Is the Love?" and the Grammy-winning party anthem "Let's Get It Started," the group scored three multi-platinum albums in 2003's Elephunk, 2005's Monkey Business,...
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