The Black Eyed Peas have released their politically charged new single “Street Livin,” which tackles systemic problems in society like police brutality and gun violence. Black Eyed Peas released the video on their Twitter with a message that read: “We Have the POWER to make change together.”
This single brings us back to the early era of the Black Eyed Peas, before the band blended electronica with pop music like in “Meet Me Half Way.” “Street Livin” reminds us more of their 2004 Busted single “Where is the Love?” and may signal the band’s return to their hip-hop/R&B roots.
The music video begins by entering the visors of a robotic creature, where we are immediately transported to the Skid Row area of Los Angeles. The band members’ mouths are superimposed over already-existent sepia images of notable figures like MLK and Malcolm X, or pictures of prisoners, immigrants or protesters. With this visual technique the group points out the similarities between things like slavery and the modern prison complex, terrorism and capitalism or immigration and poverty.
Like the Black Eyed Peas of the past, the single is catchy, with subtle brass instruments riding the main hook and a beat machine adding the rhythm. Unlike more recent examples of the band, however, this song lyrically makes us think, giving us more to sink our teeth into beyond “boom, boom, pow.”
With Fergie leaving the Black Eyed Peas in June 2017, perhaps this single shows us what the group can do without her. Regardless of that, we’ll keep listening to “Street Livin” and mark it down as one of Black Eyed Peas’ better pieces of work.
Watch the new music video below.