Is the Black Eyed Peas' "Monkey Business" appropriately titled, or is it just indefensible crap?
Critic: With the release of Monkey Business, The Black Eyed Peas have finished what they began with Elephunk: transforming into a completely substance-free, modern-day hip-hop version of the Village People, donning completely unreasonable outfits and designing every track for heavy rotation on ClearChannel. The criticism that everyone will levy at them, validly, is that they’ve sold out. But the problem with selling out is that it also exposes your earlier work’s shortcomings. Pre-Fergie, the BEPs were never short on potential, but their weaknesses were primarily the fact that 1) they were (at best) merely serviceable lyricists, and 2) they didn’t have much to say besides calling out mainstream rap for being mediocre. Well, as the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them. Monkey Business may very well top the list of 2005’s mediocre, radio-friendly, vacuous hip-hop records.
Clubhead: I was once rolling in my car with a girl. BEP’s Bridging the Gaps was on the stereo, the joint was “Weekends” featuring Esthero. The girl in my passenger seat--you know how I do--said to me, “Oh, I like it when the girl sings.” This girl was white. Esthero was white. BEP went on to add Fergie to the group, who is white. Suddenly the Peas had found their audience: party girls and the guys who get with them. I am one of these guys. I am also white.
Critic: I agree with you--it was a savvy business decision for the Peas. But the way I see it, the real reason we go “clubbing” is because our day jobs are boring, and we spend every weekday knee-deep in it, with pleated slacks, a tucked-in shirt, and possibly even shoes with tassels. So after 40 or more hours of shuffling papers and engaging in brain-hurting activities like thinking, the weekend comes around and people want to forget about it and move their hips to something stupid. And BEP provides that stupidity.
Clubhead: Did you get a degree just so you could figure out stuff like this? They have a track titled “Let’s Get Retarded.” And you’re saying they provide stupidity? You think?
Critic: What I’m trying to say is, in an ideal world, there would be no need for the Black Eyed Peas, because people wouldn’t have terrible day jobs that make them want to “get retarded” in the first place.
Clubhead: That’s true. But in an ideal world… you would also get laid. What did you say? If you can’t beat them, join them.
Critic: Yes, but I stand for something in my life.
Clubhead: Do you see that blonde girl right there in the abercrombie jean skirt? Notice that I said “Abercrombie” with a little “A.” She's grown, but she buys her skirts at abercrombie kids, dude. You can ALMOST see her ass. Where do you stand on that?