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Black Eyed Peas
31/01/2005, 7:00pm

Carling Apollo Hammersmith
Queen Caroline Street
Hammersmith
London W6
T:020 8563 3800
Tube: Hammersmith
UKP22.50
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Hop Up In Mainstream
The Black Eyed Peas cement their charisma with a post-New Years riotous trip through Londontown in January.

It’s been a long, strange trip for Los Angeles natives Black Eyed Peas. After forming in the early 90s, they were total outcasts in a scene much more conducive to the gangsta rap of N.W.A. and Snoop Doggy Dogg than the Peas’ more multi-dimensional reggae and R&B-flavoured hip-hop. Despite being championed by N.W.A’s Eazy-E, it wasn’t until the late 90’s that the band was able to even release an album. Three successive critically acclaimed albums later, it would appear on the heels of the success of similar-minded groups like Outkast and the Roots, the Black Eyed Peas are having the last laugh. Their latest record, Elephunk, has attracted mainstream notice due to two contrasting, but very successful singles: the politically conscious, soulful Where is the love? and the eminently catchy and danceable (but politically incorrect) Let’s Get Retarded.

They have been catapulted into the international mainstream enough to headline a show at the Carling Apollo Hammersmith. The band is seemingly just as concerned with aesthetics and theatrics as music, as two members of the group have roots as a break dancing crew. One might expect a hip-hop culture extravaganza set to music.

Steve Marshall

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