In a time when the music industry is engrossed in explicit mumble rap, heated rap battles and heavy instrumentals, the Black Eyed Peas found a way to perfectly sample the elegance of hip-hop nostalgia in their comeback album, MASTERS OF THE SUN VOL. 1, released eight years after the group’s last LP.
The album acts as a supplement to the band’s Marvel comic, Masters of the Sun: The Zombie Chronicles, which was inspired by ideas from lead member, will.i.am and published in July 2017.
However, it seems as if the album unravels more than just the story described in the graphic novel — a buildup to a resolution of love.
The Black Eyed Peas curate 12 tracks all following the characteristics of duple meter. The beats are catchy, allowing for any audience to bop their heads to each succinct pulse.
Although each song produces different lyrics and instrumental styles, they are united in the sense of a jazz-infused and old-school hip-hop-blues style. A different take from past albums, all song titles are stylized with capitalized names — a sign of power and importance for the band.
The fourth track on the album, titled “4EVER,” stands out. The chorus of the song emphasizes the idea of song number serving a particular purpose: “One is for the love/Two is for the soul/Three’s the magic number/And four is forever/Five is so alive/And six is in the mix/So peep, I hope you’re ready for.”
“4EVER” vows to make an impact on the rap industry forever. This track demonstrates the band’s return to the industry as game changers, and to the world as artists, with the first verse declaring, “We are the music makers/And we are the dreamers of dreams,” a quote from the poem “Ode” by Arthur O’Shaughnessy famously referenced by Gene Wilder in the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
The Black Eyed Peas found great success in the music they released during the 2000s, with songs like “Let’s Get it Started” and “Boom Boom Pow.” Their music soared with the vocals of former band member Fergie, who added a touch of flare from a female perspective.
Since Fergie’s departure from the band, the Black Eyed Peas found a way to make her absence work in the presence of their creative spiral. They also chose to add features to this album, enhancing the voice of other artists through musical pairing.
While past albums such as Monkey Business express the vibes of pop music over intense durations, MASTERS OF THE SUN VOL.1 is a major change for the band and a deviation from current musical arrangements in the rap industry.
Popular rap artists, such as the band Migos, have evolved 2018 with their firm hold on mumble rap.
The instrumentals tend to speak for the artists in mumble rap songs, while the Black Eyed Peas’ newest release demonstrates precise lyrical arrangement more than anything else.
The explicit lyrics commonly found in rap songs and rap battles are not found scattered in MASTERS OF THE SUN VOL.1.
Eminem and Machine Gun Kelly’s recent rap beef — seen in the songs “Not Alike” and “Rap Devil,” respectively — employed the use of explicit language to a large extent, creating a sense of dissonance. However, the Black Eyed Peas, although discussing issues common in American society nowadays, found a way to avoid the tension of the rap industry.
With the consonance they provide, they also aim to change the way people look at America today. The word “love” is repeated on multiple tracks, and it is no wonder why the Black Eyed Peas chose to end their album with a final, straightforward track titled, “BIG LOVE.” This song acts as a summary of the entirety of MASTERS OF THE SUN VOL.1.
“BIG LOVE” discusses the dissatisfaction of the political atmosphere in America, with special attention being paid to political leaders. will.i.am opens the song with a verse that includes the lyrics, “Our leaders are embarrassing/I think they need some parenting/ Tell me why they’re playing with the fire and the kerosene.”
However, the song’s positive uproar is brought to light in the chorus: “All that we’re made of/Is big, big love.”
The Black Eyed Peas have demonstrated that they are the true connoisseurs of the hip-hop genre in MASTERS OF THE SUN VOL.1. The album is a change from the current energy in the rap industry and the inclusion of political issues further demonstrates their brilliance in being the true “dreamers of dreams.”
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