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Looking back, I will say there was some pretty funky things that happened in the early 2000s. This album being one of them. I think that bringing Fergie into the band is one of the best decisions they ever did. However, the first two albums they did before Fergie joined are spectacular. It really contradicts my opinion. At least I liked Elephunk and Monkey Business.
I think it would be really interesting if they re-recorded the album with Fergie. I know it probably won't have the same effect as the originals. Most of the time, originals are always the best, but I think it would be a good way to introduce the old music to the new fans that are a bit skeptical of the lack of Fergie. I think Fergie's vocals could blend really well with a lot of tracks on this album. But I guess the band are out with the old and in with the new.
This album follows a similar route to their first album, Behind The Font. The album has a chilled-out hip hop route. I really love this album, but I think I love the first album a lot more. I think that this album is sweet. I haven't listened to the album in a while, but I still think it sounds as fresh and imaginable as I thought when I first heard the album.
Because these this album was before they were with Fergie, who eventually became one of the most dominant members of the band, and because these are ones aren't very well known, They're not as cheap or as available to buy as some of their later albums that made them churn success. I know that every artist has to evolve and change in the music industry, but I wish they maintained the intelligence and cool beats from the first two albums.
Sadly overtime they swapped their fresh raps and pure beats for autotune and generic electronic music. Sadly the lyrics have had an overall decline since their commercial success. But at the same time, it makes Black Eyed Peas' first four albums a lot more special. So if you've been following their career since Fergie joined, you may be in for a shock.
My favourite tracks on the album are Weekend and Hot. They're both really catchy and one of those songs that make me want to press the repeat button when it's on. Go Go is another standout track for me, I love the beginning of the song. It's sound synthetic and creepy, but in a really cool way.
Apl.de.ap and Taboo are a lot more vocally active on this album compared to the later albums. They sound like they're in their comfort zone on this album whilst in the later albums are defiantly more of Will.I.Am's comfort zone. I know it's because they're not yet a quartet, but this albums makes me feel that the three guys are sharing the leadership whilst in the current line up, Fergie and Will.I.AM are obviously the leaders of the group.
This album makes me both happy and sad at the same time. Happy because I think the music is really relaxing, and the very same band eventually lost respect for becoming dependent on computer software and not in their own pure talent such as their infamous performance at Superbowl. I think if they want back to their old styles they might earn a little more credibility.
1) BEP Empire - 5/5
2) Weekend- 5/5
3) Get Original - 5/5
4) Hot - 5/5
5) Cali To New York- 5/5
6) Lil' Lil'- 5/5
7) On My Own- 5/5
8) Release- 5/5
9) Bridging The Gaps- 5/5
10) Go Go - 5/5
11) Rap Song- 5/5
12) Bringing It Back - 5/5
13) Tell Your Mama Come - 5/5
14) Request + Line - 5/5
"Bridging The Gap" came in 2000 and was the second album from the West Coast Hip Hop crew, The Black Eyed Peas. The last of their true Hip Hop records, it was the one the released prior to the addition of Fergie to the group and so has the group standing with will.i.am leading apl.de.ap and Taboo. At the time very underground, it sees them working with the likes of Chali 2una (of Jurassic 5), DJ Premier and De La Soul.
1. "BEP Empire"
The album kicks off with a killer track and one, that if you are down with underground from this time, you won't be able to take yourself away from as we see that they are given the chance to jump on top of some production from DJ Premier (former Gang Starr member) and they show that they are strictly down for that raw, grungy stuff and that commercial Hip Hop just won't do and doesn't represent who they are.
Here they move into another single (the first track on the album was the album's lead EP) and we see that here they come out with a little something that I felt sounded as though they were attempting, although quite subtly, to attempt to try out something a little more mainstream-directed. It's a funky one and one that will attract you, regardless of what type of music you're usually down for.
3. "Get Original"
After a raw B-Boy joint from them, here we see that they move things on by coming out with a jam that has them injecting a little Dancehall influence into this one (with a little Mr. Vegas interpolation) from here we see that they go off with more of the straight killer Hip Hop that has the Funk of the West Coast, but the street sounds that you typically get from the equivalent counterpart out on the East.
After coming off the Chali 2na-assited tune, we see that here we have a tune that is initially set off by apl.de.ap in a tune that forces you into a heavy head bop as they just go at the thing hard and show how they are able to come with the sort of Hip Hop material that their biggest critics (of their current music) are into. This one keeps things rolling for them and shows just how well things are flowing here.
5. "Cali to New York"
On this one we get an interesting one as we see how their first album has managed to attract big Alternative Hip Hop names to come and collaborate with them, and here we see that the guests come in the form of Strong Island, New York's De La Soul, and together we get a smooth tune that forces you into s smooth groove that I doubt many will be able to take them self away from once it has begun.
6. "Lil' Lil'"
The dense percussion that you get from this one just feels so thick and demands your attention from the point when it hits you and it sets the track off before additional; instruments are brought in and they show more of their influences with a little jazzy one (that seems to have taken more of De La Soul's influence for what they brought to the game in the late eighties when the first 'Alternative' Hip Hop rising came.
7. "On My Own"
For this one we have BEP coming to work both with Les Nubians and Brooklyn's Mos Def as we see how things aren't just taken from one coast to another, but also to one continent to another as the Parisian R&B duo come to sing on the hook of this one with Mos coming to provide more of that underground feel to this one as we see that the crew get a little deeper and make you think a little more here.
This one sees things open back up, after having a couple with a bit of a darker feel to them, and so on this one we see that they come out with something that I would say is much more open to a wider audience as they come with a jam that has them performing something where anyone can connect to the lyrics. When this is the case they appeal to all and force you to take notice of what they do here.
9. "Bridging The Gaps"
We see that with this one we have a smoother tune from them and one that has them pulling in a massive diversity of styles into a bit mix. We see that they rhyme about all the different musical styles that has contributed to what they do, and while I wouldn't say that I believed much of this at the time, when you consider how the band developed, you really can't ignore with what you get here as they do another heavy one.
10. "Go Go"
Here we have one that samples Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock and we find that from here they set off another party jam. I wouldn't say that it had club appeal (as we know that at this time they really weren't attempting to appeal out towards the mainstream) however we see that as they work off rhymes from the classic Electro-Hop jam, they pull out a jam that had the potential to bump hard in the streets at the time.
11. "Rap Song"
For this one we have them throwing down a track where they work alongside Wyclef Jean and they come to perform a jam that sees them doing something that you would expect out of them where they trace back some classic Hip Hop jams, but do so in an original way as they do it over some mellow production and rhyme about the type of tunes that the girl at the subject of this track (who 'likes a "Rap Song"' gets down to.
12. "Bringing It Back"
Here the beats pound away, and when you consider just how calm things were the jam prior to it, it impacts massively as it powers away at you and you get to feel it at its full power and they rhyme on the thing that MCs of these times were missing out on as they take things back to the Old School and do so by drawing attention to Mantronix and a range of others who don't get the love that they should.
13. "Tell Your Mama Come"
We get a fun one here and a track that force you to bounce along to the beats, and groove to the fly West Coast bass. From here we see how they are trying to come out with a straight Funk tune and one that shows that they really don't fit into expectations of a Hip Hop group from out of the West Coast of the US. They do so much with this one and it displays just how much potential they have within them to achieve big things beyond traditional Hip Hop.
14. "Request + Line"
Perhaps the most well-known single from this album, this one stands out not only for this, but also because we see that they take things in a different direction and are able to achieve it all by getting Macy Gray to bring her soulful vocals on the thing and really make the most of her talents as the group get down to things and go hard in the way that you could only get from them - a fresh act at the time.
This is a big album from the group and although I wouldn't quite say it was as good as their debut, it was good to see them come out with another album of this sort before they completely changed-up their style for the first time (as a more Hip Pop/R&B act and then an Electro-Hop/ Dance Pop act).
This is what HipHop is all about in the year 2000. The soothing beats and rhythms are relaxing and well thought out and constructed. The lyrics are good, although not the greatest but definatly not the worse. I don't know what to say about such a great album... Bridging the Gap is a great hiphop and should not be passed up. From the begining of the cd right to the end this allbum with have anyone nodding their head with the vibe. Check it out!
The amount of 'name' guest musicians on this album is totally mouthwatering. . . . De La Soul, Mos Def, Macy Gray . . . need I say more? This is a lovely new sound of soulful, sometimes melancholic sometimes upbeat groove. Half the tunes on the album are so memorable after the second pass that they have kept me and many of my colleagues humming long after the silence hits. Using some very clever samples and covers of class songs, like 'every little thing is magic'(sting) the newness of the sound is distinguished by an unusually high class of musical artistry and slick production. Sometimes hip hop, sometimes not, this is a real winner - it should prove very popular this summer. Need I say any more, buy it!! THANKS JP, I am one happy man for your suggestion.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 BEP Empire
2 Weekends - Black Eyed Peas, Esthero
3 Get Original - Black Eyed Peas, Chali 2na
4 Hot - Black Eyed Peas, Kim Hill
5 Cali To New York
6 Lil' Lil'
7 On My Own - Black Eyed Peas, Les Nubians, Mos Def
9 Bridging The Gap
10 Go Go
11 Rap Song - Black Eyed Peas, Wyclef Jean
12 Bringing It Back
13 Tell Your Mama Come
14 Request + Line
16 Empire Strikes Back