The Black Eyed Peas return with a new album, Master of the Sun Vol.1, after an eight-year absence. The group is back to their original line up after last year’s departure of Fergie, a singer who joined the group in 2003. As the vocalist departs, so goes the electronic and pop-influenced sound that propelled them to mega success. The Peas are back to their boom-bap style just in time for the 20th year anniversary of the group’s 1998 debut album, Behind the Front.
The rapid consummation of music nowadays is creating a shorter lifespan for albums. Today’s average listener wants their favorite artist to release at least two albums a year; gone are the days of sitting with an album analyzing it for months. So to imagine a group taking an eight-year absence seems risky in this current climate, but that’s exactly what the Black Eyed Peas did and managed to deliver a head-nodding album in the process.
Will.i.am, Taboo and Apl.de.ap returned to their b-boy origins with music reminiscent of that early ’90s’ era. Those who fell in love with the group because of their first two albums, but took a step back after their third pop-influenced album, Elephunk, can listen again with nostalgic delight. The electronic fusion, high beats per minutes club tracks are less on this and back are hard hip-hop beats with a political message for this climate. This is definitely a hip-hop heavy album that will surprise pop fans looking for club singles.
On the opening track, “BACK 2 HIPHOP (feat. Nas),” Will.i.am wastes no time getting to the point with verses like, “Ring the alarm/ get on the horn and inform/ Everyone from Oregon to Melbourne/ That the funk phenomenon has been reborn and transformed.” Nas is just one of the surprise guest appearances on the album. The Peas are also back working with early collaborator Esthero on “4Ever” with her sensational voice. The other stand out tracks are the heavily sampled banger “Wings (feat. Nicole Scherzinger)”, “Yes or No,” and “Constant Pt.1 Pt.2 (feat. Slick Rick).”
Masters of the Sun Vol. 1 is one of Black Eyed Peas’ best albums in their discography. The album is a complete body of work that speaks to the current climate of today’s society and still will get you to the dance floor but in a conscious state.