Black Eyed Peas
Renegotiations: The Remixes EP
I was a fan of the Black Eyed Peas from the first time I heard their 1998 debut Behind The Front. The cleverly-titled album was a breath of fresh air in the stagnant money, bitches and guns late 90's. The then trio rocked over a live band, making music that garnered comparisons to the likes of The Roots and The Fugees. Unfortunately for the BEP's, they had neither The Roots' respect nor the The Fugees' sales. They followed up with another quality album in 2000 with Bridging The Gap, but paled alongside the like-minded Jurassic 5 and their Quality Control, and failed to get the registers ringing. Something was needed, and in 2003, Elephunk got that something.
A white girl who sings was added to the already
multi-cultural crew and they injected their music with an unbearable amount of
radio-friendly pop. Elephunk was loaded with hits in "Where Is The Love," "Let's Get Retarded"
and "Hey Mama." The Peas
got those sales they had been looking for as they eventually pushed some 4
million copies worldwide. There was another downside, though - the album was
just god awful. Personally I was never a big enough fan to care that they
cashed it all in for the dollars, I was just happy to hear some positive music
getting burn. 05's Monkey Business did just as well in sales as their
music went from bad to downright unbearable.
While 14-year-old girls pushed them to multi-platinum superstars, it seems Will.I.Am and company are looking to give back to the Hip Hop heads who got down with them in the first place. When I heard about their Renegotiations: The Remixes EP I assumed it was the usual major label scam to squeeze out some more dollars. Then I saw who was doing the remixes: DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Large Professor, Erick Sermon and DJ Jazzy Jeff. What the fuck? Likely four top ten of all time producers and a legendary DJ on board? Sounds like it can't miss.
Along with the 5 remixes are two tracks from Monkey Business, and thankfully they are the only good songs from the album. The first is the downright dope "Like That" featuring none other than Q-Tip, Cee-Lo, Talib Kweli and John Legend. The other is the funky little number "Audio Delite." The Green-Eyed Bandit Erick Sermon reworks "Ba Bump", a song that originally just tried way too hard and ended up being the musical equivalent of a pile of refuse. E-Double's trademark thumps easily save the song though, still leaving it club ready. Pete Rock one-ups him though and takes the James Brown-assisted "They Don't Want Music" and shows them what funk really is. For real, this joint is straight up ridiculous.
The fun stops there though as Primo, Large Pro and Jazzy Jeff don't fare as well. It isn't that they don't bring the goods with their production (well actually Extra P really doesn't), it's that the songs they work with ("My Style," "Disco Club," "Feel It," respectively), are just too far gone to save. No matter what beat you put behind those songs, the vocals, song structure and hooks still ooze of sappy pop trash. Despite not being able to overcome shortcomings that come via Monkey Business, this EP is dope in places and is at least very respectable in its efforts. How about for next album they just tap these guys for beats instead of remixes?