Known for their unparalleled energy, international Billboard chart-topping hits, and electronic/hip-hop fusion, the trailblazing Black Eyed Peas are ready to take the world by storm with their latest project, TRANSLATION. Released last Friday by BEP Music and Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, the fifteen-track LP functions as the supergroup’s bold entrance into reggaetón and LatinX pop. From collaborating with Shakira and J Balvin to featuring Becky G. and French Montana, this album celebrates cultural diversity in a fresh and timely fashion.
Although Fergie is no longer a member of the Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am, apl.de.ap, and Taboo fearlessly hold the group together with Filipino newcomer J. Rey Soul as a reincarnated power foursome. Blending Afrobeats with dancehall instrumentals, the multilingual comeback project embodies post-quarantine summer anticipation through artistically crafted bangers.
“RITMO (Bad Boys For Life)”
Played across countless radio stations worldwide, the platinum hit single, “RITMO (Bad Boys For Life),” serves as TRANSLATION‘s opening track. The J Balvin collaboration from the Bad Boys for Life film soundtrack takes listeners on a party-anthem ride, setting the stage for the album’s euphorically rhythmic experience.
“FEEL THE BEAT”
Joining forces with Colombian superstar Maluma, “FEEL THE BEAT” inevitably turns the energy up a notch. Its hypnotic percussion and heavy bass smoothly carry over its catchy lyrics and call-and-response nature. The sultry Spanglish verses are bound to make people dance unconsciously, and the artists’ effortless flow highlights potential for future collaborations.
Next up on the album, the Ozuna and J. Rey Soul led “MAMACITA” evokes vacation nostalgia through Caribbean electronic synthesizing. Recognized by many as the “New King of Reggaetón,” Ozuna brings his unparalleled vitality to the fire melody alongside J. Rey Soul’s strong alto vocals.
“GIRL LIKE ME”
Following the aforementioned jams, Shakira graces the LP with her sexy effervescence in “GIRL LIKE ME.” A fun, playful duet between the BEP men and the GRAMMY winning songstress, the feel-good track shares the flirtatious zeal of Ed Sheeran and Camila Cabello’s “South of the Border.”
Another banger featuring Nicky Jam and Tyga, “VIDA LOCA” evokes influence from Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls)” and Pitbull’s “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho).” Mixing militaristic beats with rave-like percussion, the overall production creates a late-night club atmosphere.
Drawing inspiration from their iconic album The E.N.D., “NO MAÑANA” transports listeners back to their EDM roots in a dembow style with Dominican rapper El Alfa at the helm of rapid fire verses. A 2020 take on “I Gotta Feeling,” the Black Eyed Peas ceaselessly party like there’s no tomorrow.
J. Rey Soul once again drives the vivacious musicianship of TRANSLATION with “TONTA LOVE.” Showcasing her vast range via pop belts and rhythmic Spanglish, J. Rey Soul brings exceptional sultriness to the uptempo banger.
If Kool & The Gang released a modern dancehall rendition of their classic single “Celebration,” it would be the Black Eyed Peas’ “CELEBRATE.” Fusing diverse percussion with electronic synthesizing alongside positive lyrics, the song’s dynamic production generates infectious energy fitting for any fiesta or special occasion.
Teaming up with Colombia’s trending boy band Piso 21, the BEP men blend their eccentric style with the Latin pop group’s smooth baritone vocals over reggaetón bass and diverse instrumentation. A fresh standout among the album’s predominantly electronic Latin hip-hop, “TODO BUENO” displays the artists’ complimentary freestyle verses against the mesmerizing chorus and down-tempo beats.
Featuring industry diva Becky G. in a suave deep house mix, “DURO HARD” oozes with sexual tension in a bohemian fashion. Exhibiting repetitive dancehall buildups over pulsating drums, the track’s promiscuous nature mimics an early 2000’s Nelly Furtado and Timbaland.
An effortless fusion of Afrobeats and reggaetón, “MABUTI” buoyantly merges playful call-and-response harmony with cross-cultural instrumentation. Including a strong original verse from French Montana, the reverberant bop deserves recognition on your next poolside playlist.
“I WOKE UP”
A self-love anthem, “I WOKE UP” incorporates Ibiza and Mediterranean influence with themes of empowerment. Living proof of the American Dream, the Black Eyed Peas musically boast about the products of their hard work and industry grind. “My previous life in the dust…hustle, no luck…I came from the bottom, now I’m livin’ high.”
“GET LOOSE NOW”
Highlighting ‘big boss’ mentality over a repetitive loop, “GET LOOSE NOW” keeps it 100 with simple lyrics and driving beats. The perfect hype song for any scenario, the bass-loaded banger will undeniably boost your confidence and change your mood.
Chanting the gripping hook, “it’s time for some action,” the BEP men use vivid figurative language in revealing their IDGAF nature and everyday hustle amidst frustration with societal stereotypes. Filled with pounding synths to say the least, the song’s throbbing essence provides a forceful undertone to the rap verses’ overall intensity.
An acoustic change of pace from the carefree dance-heavy bangers, the singer-songwriter ballad “NEWS TODAY” closes the album on a lyrically powerful high note. From the guitar pick patterns to profound poeticism, the Black Eyed Peas artistically express their subsurface emotions surrounding the ongoing pandemic. “Isn’t it ironic when we can’t breathe? The planet breathes…Did you hear the news today? Did you hear what they say? 1,000 more people passed away…Somebody tell me what’s going on.”
Featured image provided by Epic Records