Photo Credit: Christopher Parsons
The super selling group The Black Eyed Peas are back! Yes, you read that right. They are back, but not without a few switch ups taking it back to the basics. The American musical group released their seventh studio album titled Masters of the Sun Vol.1 on October 26, 2018. This is also the first album released without original singer-songwriter, and actress Fergie since they reached commercial success, in the last eight years.
The Black Eyed Peas were founded in Los Angeles in 1995 consisting of rap members Will.i.am, Apl.de.ap, and later added Taboo. The group originally started out with aspirations of becoming a huge rap and hip-hop band when they were first signed to the late gangster rap pioneer, Eazy-E’s label, Ruthless Records. After Eazy-E’s death, the band was signed to Interscope records and released their first two albums in 1998 and 2000. When they were ready to release their third album Elephunk, they added Fergie to the group and reached Billboard success with the first single off the album titled “Where Is The Love?”. Elephunk later received two Grammy nominations for Record of the Year and Best Rap Song, and won the Grammy for Best Rap Performance. The Black Eyed Peas continued to reach Billboard success over the years. In early 2017, it was rumored that Fergie was leaving the group and all rumors were answered in early 2018 when Will.i.am confirmed Fergie would not be on Masters of the Sun Vol. 1.
Masters of the Sun Vol. 1 is a unique combination of futuristic sounds, and back to hip-hop basics. The 12-track political and revolutionary album loses the electric dance-pop sound The Black Eyed Peas have previously branded themselves to be, and has took it back to their original boom-bap rhythm. Along with the newly hip-hop sound, Masters of the Sun Vol. 1 features some of the greatest hip-hop legends like Nas, Slick Rick, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Posdnuos. The album also features singers Nicole Scherzinger, Jessica Reynoso, and Esthero. Will.i.am produced the entire album along with a few features from Paperboy, U-N-I, High P, Keith Harris, Ammo, Double X, Joshua Alvarz, Daivd Luke, and rapper Ali Shaheed Muhammad is credited as a producer as well.
First track on the album titled “Back 2 HipHop” features Nas and the 1989 Soul II Soul hit, “Back To Life” as a sample in the chorus. The rest of the album plays on the same vibe, it is a cohesive body of music and art with more classic hip-hop samples like N.T. by Kool & the Gang, La Di Da Di by Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick, and Rebel Without a Pause by Public Enemy. However, the last track on the album titled “Big Love” does speak to the more pop side of The Black Eyed Peas and definitely amplifies Fergie’s absence. Even though the album did not include Fergie and did not have any Instagram caption worthy bars, Masters of the Sun Vol. 1 is a dope comeback album from The Black Eyed Peas and a nice flashback for the original hip-hop heads.