Black Eyed Peas
|The LA hip-hop group
hope to maintain the momentum of "Where is the
When a group adds a new member, there are
going to be some adjustments. In LA hip-hop collective the
Black Eyed Peas's case, that meant adjusting to superstardom
after their single "Where is the Love?" went
ballistic following the addition of hot body/vocalist Fergie.
Following a year in which they hit the road opening across
North America for the Justin Timberlake/Christina Aguilera
tour, the group now head to Japan for a visit that includes
a stop at the stylish Ebisu Garden Hall.
Fusing soul, funk, hip-hop and even strains of Asian and Native
American music, the Black Eyed Peas burst into the public
eye in 1998 with their debut album, Behind the Front, for
Interscope. Grouped in with the alternative hip-hop movement
that encompasses bands like The Roots, the three core members,
MCs Will-I-Am, Apl-de-AP and Taboo, shook up their formula
with the addition of singer Fergie for last year's
Working with Will-I-Am on a solo project, Fergie got the nod
after the trio tested her out on the song "Shut Up."
"After that the chemistry was so good we decided to
keep working with her," said Taboo in an interview
with React magazine. "She's an amazing singer,
which allows us to take away from the monotony of rapping.
When you have a beautiful singer it makes it easier to make
it a whole lot more tasteful."
Elephunk marked a change in direction for the band in more
than just personnel. "We started recording it right
before 9/11," explained Taboo about the mid-course
correction the album underwent. "After 9/11 we switched
up our whole mindset. We wanted to be more conscious. We didn't
know if we were going to be performing anymore, if the world
was goin' to end. So we just created Elephunk."
Justin Timberlake's guest appearance on "Where
is the Love?" was only one of a number of celebrity
appearances on an album dominated by party anthems. Nu metalists
Papa Roach and Brazilian samba veteran Sergio Mendes were
also called on for contributions.
While the album has shown surprising legs, the Black Eyed
Peas now face the challenge of proving they aren't
one-hit wonders. But before taking on the challenge of finding
a strategy for remaining in the fore of the fickle pop consciousness,
they'll find that there's nothing like an appearance
in front of an undemanding, easy-to-please Japanese audience
to boost the ego.
Black Eyed Peas play Ebisu Garden Hall on February 11.
See listings for details.
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