12.05.2006

A TIME BEFORE FERGIE


Let me begin this by begrudgingly acknowledging that Fergie has now reached such a prominent status in pop culture that she has surpassed the popularity of the group in which she was placed to help market said group. When I was googling an image of the Black Eyed Peas, the picture above was one of the few I could find that didnt have Fergie as the centerpiece, used to sell the group to a mainstream audience. This places the Black Eyed Peas in a position of great irony since they made their jump over the shark when they decided to possessively invest in whiteness and include Fergie into the group (musically speaking of course, cause I'm sure they don't mind all the cabbage they've thus attained).

If you can imagine, there was actually a time when BEP made music that came from the soul and wasn't made to cater to the likes of eleventeen year old white girls. They made head bobbin' music that communicated to us to clap our hands as we listened to the movement from the joints and jam.

I'll hold off on any more of my thoughts and feelings on the musical path that the BEP have now taken, instead I want to focus on a time that makes you think, "Damn, what the fuck happened to them?" A time before they were in such a visible light so as to spark a huge debate about Filipina gender representation in music videos.

Even before "Behind the Front" existed an album entitled "Grass Roots" released under a group that called themselves ATBAN Klan. From Eazy-E.com:
In 1988, a group of hip-hop dancers from downtown Los Angeles called themselves Tribal Nation. Still in high school, a few of the members, inspired by the East Coast rap movement of A Tribe Called Quest, KRS-One and Public Enemy, began writing their own raps in addition to dancing to other people's. They eventually broke off from Tribal Nation to form their own rap crew, A Tribe Beyond A Nation, or the ATBAN Klann. According to group member Will OneX, "A Tribe Beyond A Nation is a state of mind." Simplified the concept is: A Tribe is about staying true to your roots--knowing yourself and Beyond A Nation means to go out and be successful without getting caught up and trapped by it.
Composed of will.i.am (then known by a more militant name, Will One X), Apl.de.ap, and two other cats, ATBAN Klan came at a time in when g-funk and music to drive-by were the hegemonic sounds that were most pervasive in West Coast hip-hop radio. "Grass Roots" would be the only album created by ATBAN Klan under Ruthless records, and apparently they only released about 100 cassettes (which means $$$ for those of you with a copy).

In listening to these tracks, one can easily identify the influence of jazz that many inspired many in the Native Tongues era, although very aesthetically West Coast. The influence of the LA independent hip-hop scene care of the Project Blowed/Good Life Cafe shines through within the tracks. A pleasant vibe reminiscent of a Nonce-ish aura is felt on "World's Gone Mad" and "Rain On Me." "Open Your Mind" showcases the emcees on the braggadocious tip, telling us that their fresh stylistic raps will take us to another dimension. And, "Focus On You," demonstrates one of those classic laid back chillin in the park cuts.

It might just be me, but the thickness of Apl's fresh from the Philippines accent in these joints make his delivery much more ill. Though it might be that Will wrote his verses for him.

I have to give a shout out to my homie DJ Norm Rockwell (of San Diego) for hooking me up with these tracks.

ATBAN Klan - World's Gone Mad

ATBAN Klan - Rain On Me

ATBAN Klan - Open Your Mind


ATBAN Klan - Focus On You

-------------------------------------------------

While some may have already retreated from anything related to the BEP, I say they're missing out. Will.i.am, provided nothing but heat on "Doctors Advocate," and this track he did with Common is amazing:

Common - I Have a Dream (produced by will.i.am)
(c/o Nah Right)

Where does all of leave us?

FREE THE BLACK EYED PEAS FROM FERGIE!!!

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the more frequented term is ""aesthetically," the word "esthetically" retains almost the same exact definition except for the slight difference in connotation. "Esthetically" connotes a more positive, favorable view of the word that it modifies.

December 07, 2006 8:37 AM  
Blogger ninoybrown said...

i meant to write "aesthetically"... just forgot to put the "a" in the word.

i apologize for overlooking that, grammar nazi.

December 07, 2006 9:42 AM  
Blogger Audio said...

Ive been saying the same for ages.... That chick pretty much ruined the group for me... Will.I.Am still makes hot beats and there was on track they did in the last 2 years that was "Fergie-less"... Some track named "Like That" with BEP, Q-Tip, Talib Kweli, Ceelo Green and John Legend... kinda a throwback to boombap times ala Joints and Jam. I miss that old group and Atban Klann. Kinda a trip they were on Ruthless Records.

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