The Black Eyed Peas have been fairly quiet over the past several years—especially for a group which is known for making so much noise—and while fans will have to wait a bit longer for a proper new era to begin, the shape-shifting outfit has started 2018 off with a highly-anticipated new tune, and even if it’s not what’s expected of them, it’s still good to see they’re still churning them out.
The Peas released new single “Street Livin’” without warning, and the arrival of the tune isn’t the only surprise. The song is a drastic departure from their most recent output, and those who tune in to hear what party anthem the group has cooked up this time are in for a shock. “Street Livin’” is more in line with very early BEP material, which is to say that it sounds absolutely nothing like their biggest successes, such as “Boom Boom Pow,” “I Gotta Feeling,” and “The Time.”
The video uses clever special effects to make it appear as if men and women from what appear to be older photographs are rapping right along with the Peas, and the images underline the important messages delivered via the tough lyrics. The photos feature scenes of black men from different generations in prison, protesting for basic rights, and suffering at the hands of white police officers. The images may look like they were taken decades ago, but they could have been shot yesterday.
There are no soaring synths, and electro certainly isn’t the word to describe this one-off single. Instead, the group have gone back to hip-hop in its truest sense, and instead of singing about partying and staying up all night, Will.I.Am, apl.de.ap, and Taboo tackle some serious issues like police brutality, the overcrowding of prisons, and immigration in their expletive-filled cut. “Street Livin’” is lyrically closer to “Where Is The Love?” than “My Humps,” and it’s clear that the three artists have something they really want to say.
Noticeably, Fergie isn’t present on the new track, which adds to speculation that she has left the band entirely. The Black Eyed Peas themselves have denied such claims, but Fergie Ferg hasn’t featured on any of the songs they have released in the past few years (save for their re-release of “Where Is The Love?”), as she’s been busy trying to keep people listening to her latest solo album.
According to Interscope Records, “Street Livin’” is only connected to the pop band’s new comic book Masters of the Sun: The Zombie Chronicles, which was also made available as an augmented reality app. There is still no word about when the Black Eyed Peas may return with a new pop radio single, and at this point, fans might be getting a bit antsy, as their last hit record was released almost eight years ago.
Since we're talking about the old days of the Black Eyed Peas, throw it back and watch all four of them chat as one.