Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall

The only real obstackle to [a]Black Eyed Peas[/a]' way might be the ire of hardcore hip-hoppers who feel the rules are there to be followed, not changed...

Funny. No-one onstage throws gang signs. Nobody yells "Weeesssstside" or talks about their hellish life with a liberal use of swearwords and racial epithets. Is this a rap show? Do Black Eyed Peas represent Los Angeles to the fullest? Will-I-Am, Apl De Ap and Taboo certainly show a knowledge and love of hip-hop, its just that their Los Angeles is a different one: a multicultural place populated by those with a positive outlook on life. And as for their approach, well it's just another way to see hip-hop.

There's individuality in Black Eyed Peas' energetic approach to performance and in the way commonly heard source material is made to seem new when played by their live band. A ska number sounds like a new version of House Of Pain's 'Jump Around'. Another song samples the brass stabs from Edwin Starr's 'War', and then goes into synchronised and syncopated territory. The lads have obviously worked on it.

But not hard enough to forget party tunes. The effervescent 'Fallin' Up' uses dextrous verbal interplay to convey a feeling of celebration. Meanwhile 'Joints And Jam' gets catchy enough to have audience members jumping along with the rappers. In fact, the only real obstacle in Black Eyed Peas' way might be the ire of hardcore hip-hoppers who feel the rules of rebellion are there to be followed, not changed. Which is a pity.

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