The Problem With.. Black Eyed Peas' "Imma Be"

Readers complained last week that my critique of "We Are the World 25" came too late. Well then explain this to me, readers of the musical vanguard: How is the music industry still finding Black Eyed Peas hits to play from an album released last summer, as it did with "Imma Be" and "Rock That Body" from the Peas' The E.N.D. this past month?

You're all so two thousand and eight. (Also, don't write your rhymes with a date, Fergie.)

The Black Eyed Peas' latest video converges two singles "Imma Be" with "Rock That Body." It starts with introducing a futuristic speech synthesizer for the band and Fergie arguing against it for the sake of art and soul and humanity and stuff.

I think Fergie takes this stance because she knows that someone could just write better rhymes for Virtual Fergie behind her back.

You know what, though? I actually liked where that discussion was going. This video should have been all about the Black Eyed Peas debating the nature of humanity and art after a possible technological singularity, where no music is necessary. In fact, when the band comes to the the American Airlines Center on the March 19, it should have a panel discussion all about these awesome concepts. Because, really, the band's trying to bring all that sci-fi, Daft Punk influence in this album. As a nerd, all I ask is they own both it and the lit that brought it.

Unfortunately, the first part of "Imma Be" is a rehash of "London Bridge"--well, without the "Oh Shit!!!" exclamation after every line. Here, Fergie boasts about how her butt can break structures and attract guys--or break guys and attract structures--and then makes another animal metaphor about her butt. Which is it Fergie, camel hump or bee abdomen? then goes on to rhyme about the method of the Black Eyed Peas--masturbating and making money, apparently. "Imma be a brother, but my name ain't Lehman / Imma be ya bank, I be loaning out semen / Honey's in debt, baby bouncin' them checks / But I don't really mind when they bouncin' them chicks," he offers up while riding a vehicle cribbed from Blade Runner in the video.

A long breakdown follows before the song winds up to a disco-ish tempo. Thanks for making it hard on all the party DJs out there, guys! It's not a bad arrangement, though--it'd sound good if it had more lyrics than just "Imma be" and maybe some more of's boasting about the future.

I get it already: You're bees, or you "be" flying starships. Great pun.

Meanwhile, Imma be waiting for the next song. Which, turns out, is "Rock That Body," in the world of this music video. Or maybe it's just Justice, Digitalism, or someone else the Peas are stealing from these days? I don't really know.

The visuals ain't bad though: All this sonic weaponry and all these dancing Cylons looked pretty cool when I played other music over it.

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Shahryar Rizvi
Contact: Shahryar Rizvi