Will I Am Lost Change

Given the established pedigree of the Jay Dee and Pete Rock, the artists behind BBE's first two Beat Generation compilations, the choice of MC/producer Will I Am (Black Eyed Peas) to helm the third instalment initially seems curious. While BEP's organic brand of hip-hop definitely has had its moments, recent material sounded like the freeform spirit of the group was constrained. Thankfully, Will I Am's project lets you know why he's been chosen, as he has engaged a more experimental side for his contribution to the series. While this sometimes contributes to meandering instrumentals and an annoying penchant for slowing down tracks until they come to a grinding halt, for the most part this approach yields favourable results. The brassy flair of "Money" features Will I Am thoughtfully yet simply pontificating on the root of all evil. He's joined by microphone fiend Planet Asia for "Ev Rahbadee" and lets the presence of another guest, the indomitable Medusa, overpower "Hooda Hella Yew." But the standout is the graceful appearance of Terry Dexter on "Lay Me Down." The tasteful manipulation of her vocals over subtle soulful licks achieves the balance between groove and experimentation Will I Am appears to have been striving for all along. (BBE)