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Pop - Released October 12, 2019 | Epic - We The Best

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Pop - Released June 19, 2020 | Epic

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Pop - Released January 1, 2010 | A&M

Described by the band alternately as "a fresh new perspective" and "the beginning of a new era of Pea world domination" and "what is actually happening in the world right now," The Beginning inevitably follows The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies), which boasted the number one single in America -- either "Boom Boom Pow" or "I Gotta Feeling" -- during fully half of 2009, including every single summer day (and then some). Although the lead single here prominently samples an '80s touchstone, and on the cover the Peas are displayed as pixelated preteens, Nintendo fashion, The Beginning isn’t a nostalgia trip. Barring a Slick Rick or Chic sample here and a Mr. Roboto reference there (plus buckets of hi-res synth driving the productions), nothing else directly evokes the '80s. As on their last two LPs, it's heavily reliant on nightclub sloganeering and will.i.am’s purposefully (?) lame throwback rapping, alongside Auto-Tune harmonies and waves of synth. David Guetta appears on only one track, but his production job for 2009's "I Gotta Feeling" casts a long shadow on this record of don’t-stop-the-party jams and half-baked club-life anthems. It leads off with a pumping first single, "The Time (Dirty Bit)," oddly built off "(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life," the inescapably treacly duet by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes from 1987's Dirty Dancing. The album was announced in July 2010 and released four months later, but it still sounds as though it was rush-recorded and rush-released, the results of a string of late-nighters by will.i.am and co-producer DJ Ammo. (Perhaps their latest date with destiny, aka the halftime show of Super Bowl XLV, had something to do with it.) There are plentiful will.i.am vocals and comparatively few features for Fergie and the others, and the songs don't burrow into your head, earworm-style, like "My Humps" or "Boom Boom Pow." Still, there are scattered moments of respectability, including that lone David Guetta production, "The Best One Yet (The Boy)," and "Don't Stop the Party." © John Bush /TiVo
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released October 26, 2018 | UMGRI Interscope

Booklet
Nearly a decade after the release of their previous album, 2010's The Beginning, the Black Eyed Peas truly take it back to the start on their triumphant seventh set, Masters of the Sun, Vol. 1. A lot changed in their eight-year absence: Fergie left the group, reducing BEP to the original trio of will.i.am, apl.de.ap, and Taboo, while the former pair spent time on solo music and judging television singing competitions and the latter beat cancer. Throw in a turbulent period of American politics and social turmoil and the Peas finally had something to say beyond mindlessly repetitive, party-starting platitudes and odes to "My Humps." A return to their roots, Masters of the Sun reclaims their late-'90s boom-bap sound -- recruiting an iconic crew of New York MCs to really drive the point home -- on a satisfying (and surprising) set that is cohesive both in theme and sound. The acid jazz throwback production is strong, with a soulful downbeat vibe flowing throughout, while the three BEP rappers tackle topics such as race relations, gun violence, police brutality, and social media addiction ("RING THE ALARM" and "BIG LOVE"), with a touch of hip-hop boasting for good measure. They sound revitalized and refreshed like a post-millennial Digable Planets or Tribe, pushing these head-bobbing beats and dexterous lyrics like the 2000s never happened. Godzilla-stomp horns herald the time warp back to the Golden Era on "BACK 2 HIPHOP" with Nas, continuing with enough soul and jazz-sampled tracks to bring a tear to the eye of any self-professed old head. Later, Slick Rick drops in on "CONSTANT" -- via a "La Di Da Di" sample -- and the late Phife Dawg and his Tribe brother Ali Shaheed Muhammad join forces with De La Soul's Posdnuos on "ALL AROUND THE WORLD," a dizzying talent cypher that BEP bill as "A Tribe Called De La Pea." On these standouts, the sonic familiarity and focus on verbal skill is utterly refreshing, especially in the world of 2018 trap and mumble rap. Elsewhere, pop-leaning guests provide mainstream polish without distracting from the hip-hop focus. In an obvious callback, trip-hop chanteuse Esthero reprises her role from BEP's 2000 single "Weekends," appearing on the jazzy bossa nova "4EVER." Nicole Scherzinger -- originally approached for the position before it went to Fergie and also once considered as her replacement -- delivers sultry vocals and a "Tom's Diner" hook to "WINGS," while K-pop rapper CL contributes an aggressive verse that stands tall beside the Peas on "DOPENESS." Without the electro distractions of The E.N.D. and The Beginning, or the pop-rap jock jams of Elephunk and Monkey Business, the Black Eyed Peas remind listeners of the pure skill and talent preceding all their radio-dominating chart hits from the 2000s, bridging the proverbial gap back to a time when will.i.am, apl.de.ap, and Taboo simply spit over a great beat. Masters of the Sun, Vol. 1 is a welcome and gratifying return to form, a catalog highlight decades into their careers. © Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2010 | A&M

Described by the band alternately as "a fresh new perspective" and "the beginning of a new era of Pea world domination" and "what is actually happening in the world right now," The Beginning inevitably follows The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies), which boasted the number one single in America -- either "Boom Boom Pow" or "I Gotta Feeling" -- during fully half of 2009, including every single summer day (and then some). Although the lead single here prominently samples an '80s touchstone, and on the cover the Peas are displayed as pixelated preteens, Nintendo fashion, The Beginning isn’t a nostalgia trip. Barring a Slick Rick or Chic sample here and a Mr. Roboto reference there (plus buckets of hi-res synth driving the productions), nothing else directly evokes the '80s. As on their last two LPs, it's heavily reliant on nightclub sloganeering and will.i.am’s purposefully (?) lame throwback rapping, alongside Auto-Tune harmonies and waves of synth. David Guetta appears on only one track, but his production job for 2009's "I Gotta Feeling" casts a long shadow on this record of don’t-stop-the-party jams and half-baked club-life anthems. It leads off with a pumping first single, "The Time (Dirty Bit)," oddly built off "(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life," the inescapably treacly duet by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes from 1987's Dirty Dancing. The album was announced in July 2010 and released four months later, but it still sounds as though it was rush-recorded and rush-released, the results of a string of late-nighters by will.i.am and co-producer DJ Ammo. (Perhaps their latest date with destiny, aka the halftime show of Super Bowl XLV, had something to do with it.) There are plentiful will.i.am vocals and comparatively few features for Fergie and the others, and the songs don't burrow into your head, earworm-style, like "My Humps" or "Boom Boom Pow." Still, there are scattered moments of respectability, including that lone David Guetta production, "The Best One Yet (The Boy)," and "Don't Stop the Party." © John Bush /TiVo
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Pop - Released April 10, 2020 | Epic

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Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | Interscope

The Black Eyed Peas make effective pop/crossover music, but with all the limitations of the form -- vapid lyrics, clumsy delivery, vocals smoothed over by Auto-Tune, and songwriting that constantly strains for (and reaches) the lowest common denominator. Worse yet, they aren't content to be disposable pop stars; they also want to write anthemic, vital songs that speak for a new generation. And so comes The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies). For every hyper-sexualized, by-the-numbers track like the hit single "Boom Boom Pow," there are message songs like "Now Generation," which begins, in cheerleader fashion, with the lines: "We are the now generation! We are the generation now!/This is the now generation! This is the generation now!" Led by will.i.am's production, which is continually the best thing about the album, the Black Eyed Peas move even farther away from hip-hop into the type of blandly inspirational dance-pop that has become ripe for advertising and marketing opportunities, including "I Gotta Feeling" ("I gotta feeling that tonight's gonna be a good night") and "Party All Night" ("If we could party all night and sleep all day, and throw all of our problems away, my life would be ea-say"). There's also a call for unity titled "One Tribe," which gradually descends into confusion -- and nearly self-parody -- with a line about the dangers of making enemies, rapped this way: "If I had an enemy, then my enemy's gonna try to come kill me 'cuz I'm his enemy -- one tribe y'all." Between tracks, there are also occasional cameos from a narrator, who sounds strangely like Star Trek's Worf, intoning nuggets like these: "There is no longer a physical record store, but we will continue to let the beat rock!" and "The most powerful force on the planet is the energy of the youth/But when this powerful youth becomes activated and stimulated and collectively decides not to buy things, what will happen to the economy?" Granted, there's nothing here as embarrassing as "My Humps," and the production is a shade better than previous material from the group or Fergie solo (although still not as good as will.i.am solo ventures), but The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies) is a mess of pop/dance/rap crossover. It certainly won't change the minds of everyone who thinks that the group's pandering approach and clumsy execution make it the worst thing about pop music in the 2000s. © John Bush /TiVo
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Pop - Released December 20, 2019 | Epic - We The Best

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 1, 2005 | A&M

Hip-hop artists with commercial aspirations need never appear pandering to their audience, since a tough, defiant stance -- aka keeping it real -- is exactly what will draw in most crossover listeners anyway. Nevertheless, the Black Eyed Peas quickly embraced the pop world after the surprising success of third album Elephunk, and only continued their repositioning as a mainstream act with 2005's Monkey Business. That focus is immediately clear on the opener, "Pump It Up," where they gladly welcome listeners on a track whose sample -- Dick Dale's "Misirlou," already ubiquitous before it appeared in Pulp Fiction -- has to replace "Walk This Way" or "I'll Be Missing You" (more on Sting later) as the most conspicuous case of an unmissable rock riff being used on a rap track. With the Wal-Mart audience safely in tow, the group moves on to motivate its hip-hop base by reaching for every trick in the grab bag of contemporary urban music. These attempts are either serviceable or wildly unsuccessful. "Disco Club" is one of the few serviceable tracks, an apt re-creation of Cassidy's "Hotel." Wildly unsuccessful is the group's utilization of its newest member, Fergie, to function as an imitator of the hyper-sexual Kelis/Ciara archetype on "My Humps," which makes for one of the most embarrassing rap performances of the new millennium (sample lyric: "My hump (9x)/My lovely little lumps"). Unlike Elephunk, the Justin Timberlake feature here ("My Style") is placed early in the program, and it's bolstered by a Timbaland production, which eases the strain of an otherwise featherweight jam. Most of the songs on Monkey Business are the same type of party rap singalong that Black Eyed Peas made their name with on Elephunk. But other than "Disco Club," the only one that works as anything but background party music is "Feel It," a rare production by the group's apl.de.ap (will.i.am handles most of the rest). At the very tail end of the disc, there's one brief glance at Black Eyed Peas' history as a socially conscious group -- "Union," featuring Sting and Branford Marsalis, which floats the usual bromides about peace and equality (and swipes the sound and speak of Bob Marley in the process). Monkey Business could easily sell just as well, or better, than Elephunk, but what the group made sound effortless in the past sounds strained and canned here. © John Bush /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 4, 2019 | eOne Music

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 26, 2000 | Interscope

Is this the real thing or a substitute? In 1998, Black Eyed Peas released their debut, Behind the Front, and by most accounts, it snugly filled a hole left behind by the absent, optimistic talents of A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. So in the same year that Jurassic 5 complete their first proper release and De La Soul finally return, is there any room for a group like BEP anymore? Well, maybe. While the album fails in its titular intention of bringing together the two exclusionary worlds of rap and rock, it still diligently follows in the footsteps of its predecessor's highs. Maybe one might have to look toward Kim Hill -- the group's backing vocalist -- who seems to have a larger impact this time. Hill hovers over terrific sun-streaked ditties like "Tell Your Mama Come" and the irrepressible "Hot" without a hitch. The other collaborations follow her lead too. From Macy Gray to Les Nubians to Mos Def to, yes, even Jurassic 5 and De La Soul, none of these guest artists feel out of place or contrived. Undoubtedly, this second release finally proves that BEP get to mark their own territory in the history of old-school, soulful -- and playful -- hip-hop. Because Bridging the Gaps is a terrific follow-up full of warmth. Unlike what the advertisements might say, this is a multi-ethnic, multi-faceted substitute that should be accepted immediately. © Dean Carlson /TiVo
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R&B - Released January 1, 2004 | A&M

Although nominally a rap group, Black Eyed Peas call upon so many forms of songwriting and production that slotting them into hip-hop is like slotting Prince into R&B -- technically true, but very limiting. Elephunk, the group's third LP (and the first to feature Fergie), doesn't have top-notch rapping, but as driven by frontman Will.I.Am, it does possess some of the most boundary-pushing productions in contemporary, (mostly) uncommercial hip-hop, right up at the level occupied by Common and OutKast. The smart, brassy opening club thump "Hands Up" hits another level with a sly bridge flaunting some heavy metallic slide guitar, while the highly pressurized love jam "Shut Up" features great interplay between Taboo and new member Fergie. Space doesn't allow for description of each track, but suffice to say any Will.I.Am track is going to feature loads of ideas and fresh sounds, not to mention plenty of stylistic change-ups -- from the digital-step ragga of "Hey Mama" (featuring Tippa Irie) to the Latinized, loved-up "Latin Girls." Like a latter-day Digital Underground, Black Eyed Peas know how to get a party track moving, and add a crazy stupid rhyme or two ("bop your head like epilepsy" from the suitably titled "Let's Get Retarded"). © John Bush /TiVo
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released June 22, 2004 | A&M

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Pop - Released January 12, 2004 | A&M

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Pop - Released September 1, 2016 | The BEP - WHERESTHELOVE Charity Single

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Pop - Released January 1, 2009 | Interscope

The Black Eyed Peas make effective pop/crossover music, but with all the limitations of the form -- vapid lyrics, clumsy delivery, vocals smoothed over by Auto-Tune, and songwriting that constantly strains for (and reaches) the lowest common denominator. Worse yet, they aren't content to be disposable pop stars; they also want to write anthemic, vital songs that speak for a new generation. And so comes The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies). For every hyper-sexualized, by-the-numbers track like the hit single "Boom Boom Pow," there are message songs like "Now Generation," which begins, in cheerleader fashion, with the lines: "We are the now generation! We are the generation now!/This is the now generation! This is the generation now!" Led by will.i.am's production, which is continually the best thing about the album, the Black Eyed Peas move even farther away from hip-hop into the type of blandly inspirational dance-pop that has become ripe for advertising and marketing opportunities, including "I Gotta Feeling" ("I gotta feeling that tonight's gonna be a good night") and "Party All Night" ("If we could party all night and sleep all day, and throw all of our problems away, my life would be ea-say"). There's also a call for unity titled "One Tribe," which gradually descends into confusion -- and nearly self-parody -- with a line about the dangers of making enemies, rapped this way: "If I had an enemy, then my enemy's gonna try to come kill me 'cuz I'm his enemy -- one tribe y'all." Between tracks, there are also occasional cameos from a narrator, who sounds strangely like Star Trek's Worf, intoning nuggets like these: "There is no longer a physical record store, but we will continue to let the beat rock!" and "The most powerful force on the planet is the energy of the youth/But when this powerful youth becomes activated and stimulated and collectively decides not to buy things, what will happen to the economy?" Granted, there's nothing here as embarrassing as "My Humps," and the production is a shade better than previous material from the group or Fergie solo (although still not as good as will.i.am solo ventures), but The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies) is a mess of pop/dance/rap crossover. It certainly won't change the minds of everyone who thinks that the group's pandering approach and clumsy execution make it the worst thing about pop music in the 2000s. © John Bush /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2011 | A&M

This two-disc set combines the Black Eyed Peas' 2010 album The Beginning (with bonus tracks added) with arguably the five best tracks from the group's 2009 album E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies) in a single package, essentially creating a "beginning/end" introduction to the group that should send most listeners straight to the dancefloor. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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R&B - Released January 1, 1998 | Interscope

Black Eyed Peas bring some positivity and fun back into hip-hop. Musically there is almost no realm this group does not touch -- right from the jump, the stylistic innocence of "Fallen Up," complete with striking guitar licks, sums up what BEP is all about. They attack the so-called hardcore MCs playing the role of dress-up: "I see you try to dis our function by stating that we can't rap/Is it cuz we don't wear Tommy Hilfiger or baseball caps?/We don't use dollars to represent/We just use our innocence and talent." The wonderfully crafted, old-school-influenced first single, "Joints and Jam," is perfect for the summertime frame of mind. With "Karma" they explore the notion of reaping what you sow. "Love Won't Wait" is a simultaneous infusion of R&B and hip-hop, as the group deals with a deteriorating romance. But the undisputed champ of this recording is "Positivity" -- you can't help but reminisce about yesteryear's MCs kicking conscious lyrics to educate the hip-hop masses. "Nowadays it's hard to make a living/But easy to make a killing/Cuz people walk around with just one inch of feeling/I feeling nauseated from your evil drug dealing/Blood spilling, the definition of top billing." In all honesty, the MCs who make up BEP -- Taboo, Will, and A8 -- are not going to be confused as being super-lyrical by any means. But their chemistry and insightful, original topic matter is used with enough efficiency to mask that slight blemish. © Matt Conaway /TiVo
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released January 9, 2018 | UMGRI Interscope

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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 20, 2005 | A&M