Behind the Front
If you think live-band hip-hop begins and ends with the Roots, well, think again. On Black Eyed Peas' Behind the Front (Interscope Int 90152, 73:59). Principal members Will. I. Am, Apldap (say "Apple D. App") and Taboo provide a musical hip-hop shot that rises beyond mere discussions of "consciousness" (we've had enough of "uplifting" messages carried by wack rappers, thank you). It just sounds, well dope, with a live band accentuated by clever samples. Check their reworking of the Meters "Hand Clappin' Song" ("Clap Your Hands") or "White Horse" ("Be Free"). And if the electric piano hook to the giddy "Joints & Jam" doesn't grab your syncopation center by the short hairs, then you've waited too long between physicals.