HOLLYWOOD — The Black Eyed Peas have landed some legendary musical help for their upcoming album.
Soul icon James Brown has contributed to the track "They Don't Want Music" for the Peas' fourth album, Monkey Business, which is being mixed now and will hit shelves in early 2005. Brown recorded his contribution before he announced that he'll undergo surgery for prostate cancer this month (see "James Brown Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer").
Although the Peas were unable to schedule a hoped-for collaboration with Darkness singer Justin Hawkins (see "Black Eyed Peas To Make Their Own 'Walk This Way' — With The Darkness"), the hip-hop group made up for it with Brown as well as surf guitar legend Dick Dale.
"It's fresh, it's dope, and seriously, I'm not just saying it 'cause it's ours," Will.I.Am said of the album. "I like it better than Elephunk. We recorded the majority of it in London for two months, and Brazil and here in the States on airplanes, hotel rooms, bus lobbies, museums, bathrooms."
Following up Elephunk will be quite a challenge for the Peas, as the album has sold more than 2 million copies and earned two Grammy nominations last year along with another four this year (see "Kanye Scores 10 Grammy Nominations; Usher And Alicia Keys Land Eight").
"It feels real good to be acknowledged for hard work and songwriting," Will said. "To be in the same company as Usher, Alicia Keys, Earth, Wind & Fire, all those greats. And now Black Eyed Peas are a household name."
"We've been watching the Grammys since we were young, and now we're a part of it and it's a good thing, not just for us, but for hip-hop in general," added Taboo.
Three of the Peas' four nominations — Record of the Year, Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group and Best Rap Song — were for "Let's Get It Started," the radio version of the album track "Let's Get Retarded." ("Hey Mama" is also in the Best Rap Song category.)
"We always knew the song meant a lot to a lot of people because when we performed it, it was the college anthem, the wild-out anthem," Will said.
Although the revised, more politically correct version of the tune took off after the NBA used it in its playoffs commercials, the Peas had unofficially changed the title and chorus before the basketball league approached them.
"We changed the words when we were on tour with Justin Timberlake because there were disabled people on the side of the stage, and out of respect we altered it," Will said. "Even though when we say 'get retarded,' we mean slowing down our inhibitions."
Black Eyed Peas were originally scheduled to release solo albums in 2005, but they put those on hold to keep the momentum behind the group going (see "Peas Freeze Solo LPs To Keep Things Shakin' Off The Richter").