We’re not talking about the Fergie-fronted, iconic pop hitmakers of the mid-2000’s. We’re talking about one of the most promising hip-hop groups of the late 90’s. A group we thought had, by all sounds and appearances, disappeared.
Plenty of people feel that “Where Is the Love” and other Elephunk singles were the genesis of a talented combo who called themselves the Black Eyed Peas. But it was the end of something, too. Of politically charged verses, consciousness, and drop-the-mic quality wordplay. Of a three-man rap group that could pass the mic like the best of them.
Just take a moment to compare earlier tracks such as Behind the Fronts “Joints and Jam” or the Wyclef Jean-featured “Rap Song” from 2000’s Bridging the Gap—their last, pre-Fergie album—to songs such as “My Humps” and “Let’s Get It Started“.
Now, the Black Eyed Peas have come out with their first album in eight years, Masters of the Sun Vol. 1. It is the first LP since Fergie split from the group. And just from looking at the features—Nas, Slick Rick, members from A Tribe Called Quest—we can tell that the Black Eyed Peas have returned to their long buried roots. But with a ton of production experience to bolster the comeback.
Masters of the Sun Vol. 1 arrived in October. Last month, Black Eyed Peas member Will.i.am dropped by The Daily Show to discuss the new album. “We wanted to reflect on the stage we were at when we were just dreaming and finally got that record deal,” he said. “And so that’s like organic sounds — trying to make our 22-year-old proud… They need to know that like lyrically, you can’t mess with us.”
And in our opinion, they’ve done it. In the album’s lead track “BACK 2 HIP-HOP“, the BEP trade verses effortlessly, with the assistance of one of New York’s greatest—Nas. Never before had we thought that the Black Eyed Peas and Nas would be trading observations and rhyme schemes on a beat backed to the famed Soul II Soul track “Back to Life” in 2018.
But they did it. The Black Eyed Peas have reminded fans that they can rap.
“Vibration, we penetratin’ your skeleton
Reanimation we bringin’ it back again”
To hear Will.i.am, Taboo and apl.de.ap pass the mic with the profound urgency of burgeoning twenty year olds is something we just didn’t expect to happen, especially eight years after the BEP’s astoundingly vacuous LP The Beginning. Could their days of producing pop punchlines be over? Was The Beginning, actually, the end?
So far, the Black Eyed Peas have announced a European “Masters of the Sun” Tour, but nothing in the States. We think it’s only a matter of time before BEP announces a second leg of the “Masters of Sun” Tour. Perhaps after they perform “Back 2 Hip-Hop” live on The Late Show with James Corden on Wednesday, Dec. 19th?
Be sure to check out the Black Eyed Peas on The Late Show. In the mean time, check out the trippy, gilded Pharaoh visuals for the downright ill verses of “BACK 2 HIP-HOP”, below.