Black Eyed Peas to play free outdoor show today 

Just who are the Black Eyed Peas and why is everyone so worked up about their show in Whistler Village this afternoon?

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Simply put, it doesn’t get any hotter right now than the L.A.-based collective, a United Nations of hip-hop known as much for their eclectic style and dance moves as the funk-da-fied jams on their 2003 hit factory Elephunk .

The album came in like a lamb last year on the introspective grooves of the single Where Is The Love, a reaction to 9/11 that included vocals by pop megastar Justin Timberlake.

But the rest of Elephunk is no lullaby. Raucous party jams like Let’s Get Retarded and Hey Mama make it impossible to sit still. The intense relationship rap ballad Shut Up is impossible to ignore.

"An elephant is powerful without having to prove itself," the group’s sole female, Fergie, told Vibe Magazine in a recent interview. "It steps in the room and you feel its presence. That’s what the album is like; it stands on its own."

The explosion of the group’s popularity has partly corresponded with Fergie’s addition to the Pea roster. The tremendous vocal range and sassy moves of hip-hop’s new It-girl have breathed new life into the collective.

She’s somehow found her way into some pretty tight bonds. Members will.i.am and apl.de.ap have been friends since the eighth grade, joining forces with Taboo in 1995. The trio released two previous albums as the Black Eyed Peas: Behind the Front in 1998 and Bridging the Gap in 2000.

The original members can also claim to be one of the most ethnically diverse crews in hip-hop. will.i.am is African-American, apl.de.ap is of Filipino origin, and Taboo is part Mexican, part Native American.

In addition to their theatrical delivery and unmistakable dance moves, the three MCs and their new vocalist perform with instrumental players, as opposed to a DJ, in the tradition of other conscious hip-hop collectives like the Roots.

The Peas will throw down on the main stage in Whistler Village this afternoon, before they’re back in Vancouver to perform at Richard’s on Richards later in the evening.

The Whistler show is part of the DKNY//Jeans series of free outdoor concerts taking place daily during the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival. Sweatshop Union MC Kyprios will do an opening set.

For more information go to www.whistler2004.com.

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