Monkey Business

Studio Album by released in 2005
Monkey Business's tracklist:
Pump It
Don't Phunk With My Heart
My Style (feat. Justin Timberlake)
Don't Lie
My Humps
Like That (feat. Cee-Lo, John Legend, Talib Kweli & Q-Tip)
Dum Diddly (feat. Dante Santiago)
Feel It
Gone Going
They Don't Want Music (feat. James Brown)
Disco Club
Ba Bump
Audio Delite at Low Fidelity / Change
Union (feat. Sting)

Monkey Business review

For 2003's multiplatinum Elephunk, the Black Eyed Peas recruited sexy crooner Fergie and ditched ponderous rhymes in favor of smooth hooks, transforming themselves from the world's most boring rap group to hip-hop's brightest popsters. They 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 I'll Be Missing You or Walk This Way as the most conspicuous case of an unmissable rock riff being used on a rap track. With the Wal-Mart audience safely in tow, the group moves on to motivate its hip-hop base by reaching for every trick in the grab bag of contemporary urban music. Disco Club is a serviceable re-creation of Cassidy's Hotel, and the group's newest member, Fergie, tucks into the hyper-sexual Kelis/Ciara archetype on My Humps.

Most of the tracks on Monkey Business are the same type of party rap singalongs that Black Eyed Peas made their name with in the past. Other than Disco Club, the best is Feel It, a rare production by the group's APL.DE.AP that has the streamlined sound and detailed production of the hits off Elephunk. As with their last hit, Elephunk, new disc Monkey Business is a joyful cross-genre journey with musical props to hip-hop, rock, folk, funk, and pop. The reason the Black Eyed Peas have audience appeal that crosses over many styles is because the band members are such obvious fans of diverse music. Nowhere is this more apparent than on Monkey Business’s high-profile guest list. After Justin Timberlake’s contribution to the massive Where Is the Love breakout hit from Elephunk, their inclusion of big names once again was a smart, respectful move on the part of the band as well as their guests. My Style is Timberlake’s Black Eyed Peas foray number two; while the song is funky pop fun, those looking to hear Justin in the forefront are likely to be disappointed, as his vocals are mixed evenly, no sweet soulful solos this time. Other guests of note are Jack Johnson, who co-wrote the bling-bashing Gone Going, Sting on Union (sonically inspired by the former Police-man’s Englishman in New York), while funk legend James Brown contributes to a scorching soul track dubbed They Don’t Want Music. Highlight of Monkey Buisness is also Dum Diddly featuring Dante. But the albums true shining stars are Don't Lie and Gone Going.

The contribution of female vocalist Fergie has raised up considerably on the band’s fourth disc, their second as a quartet. Sassily fronting her way through songs like My Humps, the Hey Mama-esque Dum Diddly and the first single Don’t Phunk With My Heart, Fergie’s melodic contributions make for a record that will likely be heard by wider audiences than ever, making this a truly accessible hip-pop CD. Monkey Business is 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 interesting.

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