Da' Smoking Ace goes in on the strange phenomenon of the Black Eyed Peas, and whether they're actually good for hip hop. As usual, show our guest some love you-know-where.]
Like everybody was doing Sunday, I was watching the Super Bowl, loving the commercials (s/o to Em for his Chrysler commercial showing Detroit, it is much needed in this day in America), and eating lots of food. Unlike many of the Super Bowl fanatics, I just could not stand watching Bill O’Reilly giving his no-spin zone to Barack Obama because Bill O’Reilly loves going after people he knows he can control and get away with it (try that with those protesters in Egypt then I will give you some type of credit.), nor did I watch the Super Bowl halftime show with the Black Eyed Peas because I have a disdain for people who sold out on hip-hop. Here is my gripe on “The Black-Eyed Peas.”
Me and my blogger brother in the N.C, Citizen Ojo, were having a nice conversation about this during the Chicago Bears-Seattle Seahawks NFC Divisional Playoff Game. Decades ago, I really thought that the Black-Eyed Peas were going to be the West Coast version of my favorite group “A Tribe Called Quest.” Not because the elements that were similar,(Will.I.Am being the next Q-Tip, Taboo and Apl.de.ap being the next Ali Muhammed and Phife Dog) but because they were different in their own way of race (one black, one Filipino, and one Hispanic). I remember the first album called Behind The Front due to their hit “Joints & Jam” with artist Kim Hill.
It is still to me a bonafide hip-hop classic in many cases. In 2000, they collabed with singer Macy Gray on “Request Line”. It was a pretty nice song that hit #2 on the Rap Singles chart. Yes the same time the Hot Boyz (Juvenile, B.G., Turk, and some lil knucklehead name Lil Wayne) was blazing the whole U.S. The same year Bad Boy was at their peak. So the question to me from 2000 to 2001 what happened?
[Editor's Note: I also liked Behind The Front. A lot. Sure, the Peas were a little deficient on the mic. Okay, a lot deficient. But their style of eclectic and diverse hip hop was refreshing. I'll also note that their sophomore album, on which they tried to go more "hip hop" with production by DJ Premier, caught a serious brick sales-wise. That pretty much explains all you need to know about their subsequent shift in musical focus. I can't hate the players, or the game. I do, however, hate the music.]
Well development at Interscope came. Dumped Kim Hill because she wasn’t black enough and got a singer that was not black at all to coincide with the Rainbow Coalition that was already happening. Fergie did so much up and down to this group. She gave them international appeal and killed the group once coined “one of the last few rap crews in the game.” What happened is that they became more pop than hip-hop.
Sometimes I really think the Black-Eyed Peas played a part of the “Who killed the hip-hop group?” theory. It was a big….and quick decision to either get back into hip-hop or go pop. Well, three double platinum LPs, a song (and parody thanks to Aaron MacGruder) for our nation’s president, and many tours around the world, we see where this group went.
Now I am sitting here thinking three things. “Was it worth it?” “Would I still think of "Joints & Jam" the same way I think of "I'mma Be? “Are they the expanded version of A Tribe Called Quest?”
….Well I don’t know, but I tell you my friends. That playing College Football 2010 on PS3 was worth playing than the halftime show.
Question: What do you think about the Black Eyed Peas? Did they sell out, or cash in? Is there a way to maintain your artistic integrity and still move units?