London WC2 LA2

In fact, only one bum note brings back the question of authenticity...

The main question that has troubled philosophers and hip-hop heads alike is what constitutes authentic hip-hop. [a]Black Eyed Peas[/a] should, by rights, be shunned by purists for being too Hollywood and for actually working as a real live band, but the depth of their immersion in the culture prevents such criticism. Will-I-Am, Taboo, Apl De Ap, songstress Kim, and their seasoned helpers are a classic, funky, and elastic-limbed act.

To please the crowd isn’t necessarily the done thing in hip-hop, as a little antagonism goes a long way. But, a mission to bring back the days of Afrika Bambaataa‘s Soul Sonic Force (when the practitioners were slightly more multicultural and a lot less nihilistic) goes hand in hand with stagecraft.

As for the ability of live players to replicate the stutter beat of Barrington Levy‘s ‘Here I Come’ or the bass drone of Boogie Down Productions’ ‘Stop The Violence’, well that’s excellent. To approximate a DJ Premier soundscape on ‘BEP Empire’, though, is just superlative.

In fact, only one bum note brings back the question of authenticity, as an onstage diss of their competitors, though impassioned, seems a bit prickly and sour.