Release Date: Jun 7, 2005
Record label: A&M
Genre(s): Pop, R&B
Hip-hop artists with commercial aspirations need never appear pandering to their audience, since a tough, defiant stance -- aka keeping it real -- is exactly what will draw in most crossover listeners anyway. Nevertheless, the Black Eyed Peas quickly embraced the pop world after the surprising success of third album Elephunk, and 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 "Walk This Way" or "I'll Be Missing You" (more on Sting later) as the most conspicuous case of an unmissable rock riff being used on a rap track.
Black Eyed Peas have clearly found a magic formula for success: good-guy rap plus pop-profundity multiplied by numerous special guests. Here they put it to good use. The choruses are just as catchy as those on 2003's Elephunk; there are stripped-back beats and eclectic influences, including Astrud Gilberto's kitsch strings and Musical Youth's Pass the Dutchie.