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'Masters of the Sun, Vol. 1' review: Black Eyed Peas' welcome return

Black Eyed Peas' "Masters of the Sun, Vol.

Black Eyed Peas' "Masters of the Sun, Vol. 1" on Interscope Records. Credit: Interscope Records

BLACK EYED PEAS

"Masters of the Sun, Vol. 1"

BOTTOM LINE Boom boom pow! The old-school Black Eyed Peas are back.

Before the Black Eyed Peas became giant pop stars – holding down No. 1 for an astounding 26 weeks in 2009, as “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling” topped the charts – they rolled out alternative hip-hop.

That’s the history will.i.am,  apl.de.ap and Taboo tap into for their first album in eight years, “Masters of the Sun, Vol. 1” (Interscope). And it’s a welcome return, trading in the mindlessness of “My Humps” for calls for unity on the anthem “Big Love” and the socially conscious “Ring the Alarm.” The well-crafted “Yes or No” recaptures the edge the Peas once had as will.i.am demands, “You’re either fixing it or breaking it, taking it or making it . . . You’re either leading or you’re following.”

The lyrics aren’t the only throwback to their more artistic days. The jazzy grooves on “Vibrations” and Nicole Scherzinger’s  Nina Simone-influenced vocals on the ambitious “Wings” remind old-school stans  about why they first backed the group. And if that wasn’t enough reason, there are verses from Nas, Slick Rick,   K-pop  star CL and Posdnuos  from Amityville’s De La Soul. 

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