“Monkey Business” is not my favorite Black Eyed Peas record, and never will be. Even though I had no problem with the musical backdrop of the tracks (perhaps the one thing BEP has consistantly done right) the lyrical content was awful bordering on downright stupid. My opinion is obviously at odds with the mainstream though, as the inane “My Humps” has caught a whole new wave of popularity thanks to cell phone commercials and an endless wave of parody videos on YouTube. To quote one of my favorite writers though, Mr. Hua Hsu, this song’s popularity is “proof that a song can be so bad as to veer toward evil.” Say word? True indeed. “My Humps” may actually inspire a whole new generation of rap artists to write songs as dumb as this one in the hopes of becoming the next big thing, just as Ebony Eyez inspired a whole generation of females to act like retarded sluts with “In Ya Face.” I long for the days when Queen Latifah and Yo-Yo believed in the power of strong intelligent black women. Let’s face it, even a gangsta bitch like Bo$$ or The Lady of Rage was a better role model than Ebony Eyez or the abyssmal Fergie, who just wants to get you drunk off her hump – her hump, her hump, her hump.
That being said I have no problem with “Renegotiations,” a short and relatively inoffensive EP of remixes from “Monkey Business.” You could hardly make songs with lyrics as stupid as their last LP’s any dumber, and in several cases the new versions offer vast improvement thanks to the fly new beats. “Like That” is a notable exception but not for the wrong reasons – it’s exactly the same as the original release and was one of the few intelligent songs on that release, thanks largely to raps by Q-Tip and Talib Kweli. Making it the first track on this EP was a good step in the right direction. Erick Sermon does a fine job with “Ba Bump,” DJ Premier proves he can rework any track into hot hip-hop with his revision of “My Style,” and even Pete Rock gets in on the action by revising “They Don’t Want Music.” BEP doesn’t help matters by ripping off old school rap lines and routines (most notably Greg Nice) but any track which could on both original and new versions be labelled “featuring James Brown” by virtue of his samples is going to remain funky no matter how bad the rap.
To say that the Black Eyed Peas have achieved anything groundbreaking or revolutionary on “Renegotiations,” a short EP that includes five new remixes and two album tracks from “Monkey Business” that were tolerable would be a straight up lie. To say that the Black Eyed Peas made a mistake by having Jazzy Jeff make a fresh and soulful remix of “Feel It” or that Large Pro didn’t bring the funk on his revision of “Disco Club” would also be a lie. For what it’s worth, and they listed this EP for a bargain price at Best Buy (it appears to be a chain exclusive), you really can’t go wrong here. This EP doesn’t redeem the awful lyrics of “Monkey Business,” but it is a statement that they at least value the opinion of hip-hop enough to let some of it’s all time great producers remake their tracks. Now if they could work on making the rhymes as good as the beats, we wouldn’t have to worry about their evil influence any more.