After eight years of relative silence, the Black Eyed Peas released a new music video on Monday for their song “Street Livin,’” a new single that is reminiscent of the group’s roots in alternative hip-hop.
Instead of featuring the members’ faces, the video focuses on a series of images depicting social justice struggles and protests. Covering everything from DACA to the prison-industrial complex to police brutality, the video is a change from their time in the dance-pop world, when they were known for hits like 2005′s “My Humps” and 2009′s “I Gotta Feeling.”
The new video is in line with the song’s political message. “Street Livin’” includes lyrics like “You’re guilty until you prove you’re innocent / If you’re ivory, they treat you different.” The song dives deep into the effects of structural racism, paying specific attention to the prison-industrial complex. This highlighting of America’s history of profiting of the mass incarceration of people of color is a main theme throughout the song. The group — which currently includes will.i.am, apl.de.ap and Taboo — expresses their stance on the issue bluntly with the line, “More n***as on the prisons than there ever was picking cotton.”
Since 2010′s “The Beginning,” the group has been busy performing at multiple events and venues. In 2011, they performed at the Super Bowl halftime show and most recently joined singer Ariana Grande for her One Love Manchester benefit concert.
One pointed difference for The Black Eyed Peas’ upcoming album is the absence of longtime member Fergie, who is focused on her solo career. (Her second solo album, “Double Duchess,” came out in September.) The group doesn’t have any concrete plans to replace the singer, will.i.am told Ahalan! magazine in June, though he said Nicole Scherzinger will appear on the new project.
Last year, will.i.am released a graphic novel, Masters of the Sun, which happens to share a name with the group’s coming album. The graphic novel follows the story of Zulu-X, who must save the word from aliens who turn drug dealers and gangsters into zombies. Along with the new single, Black Eyed Peas announced they will be introducing a virtual reality experience based off of the graphic novel at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The project boasts heavy hitters like Stan Lee as a narrator, Queen Latifah as a voice actor and Hans Zimmer as composer.
This year also marks the Black Eyed Peas’ 20th anniversary. With a new single, an upcoming album and a venture into the virtual reality world lined up, the group seems to be celebrating their success with a bang.