Dutchess Fergie makes the boys go loco

If you thought Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas was just some cute songstress who had us singing “Don’t Phunk with My Heart” last summer, you thought wrong. As the title of Fergie’s first solo album proclaims, she’s more than a blonde who sings the occasional hook in a Peas hit-in fact, she’s a Dutchess.

Out to prove herself worthy of such a title, Fergie kicks off her royal affair with “Fergalicious,” an infectious booty shaker in which the “F to the E-R-G the I, the E” brags about her ability to “make the boys go loco.” While the track is sprinkled with Fergie’s outrageous personality, its beat moves you just like a Peas hit would. A quick glance of the album credits supports this notion; a handful of Fergie’s dance numbers are produced by Will.I.Am, the mastermind behind the Peas.

But that doesn’t mean that “Dutchess” is solely comprised of Peas-esque material. Similar to how No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani explored new genres on her solo album, Fergie lets loose on several tracks on “Dutchess” and indulges in sounds that would never conceivably fit on a Peas album. Take, for instance, “All That I Got (The Make Up Song),” an R&B slow jam in which Fergie tells the love of her life that she could be the one he “could grow older with.”

Not only does Fergie explore her feminine side on her debut album, but she also reveals a voice exponentially more impressive than any Peas hit has ever suggested. In “Finally,” a ballad about finding one’s soul through tough times and love, Fergie unleashes a voice that should make Beyonce and Christina Aguilera twitch with nervousness.

Missy Elliot should also watch her back. In “Here I come,” a hip-hop and dance hybrid that samples “Get Ready,” a Motown hit by The Temptations, Fergie puts great use to a flow that begs the question: Is Fergie a better singer or rapper? The hit also suggests that, without a doubt, “Dutchess” marks the ascension of a musical monarch destined to reign for many years to come.

Nick Maslow can be contacted at n.maslow@umiami.edu