The shape-shifting band has started the year off with a surprise new tune, the politically charged “Street Livin.’” It marks a drastic departure from their most recent music — don’t expect the electronica/pop of “Boom Boom Pow” — and brings us back to the early era of BEP, when socially conscious hip-hop was their M.O.
Will.i.am., Taboo, and apl.de.ap (Fergie is taking a break from BEP to promote her solo music) each take the forefront for a verse on “Street Livin,’” which revolves around social issues like police brutality and the prison-industrial complex. It’s accompanied by a hard-hitting video in which the group’s mouths are superimposed over sepia images of prisoners, protestors, and immigrants. The song ends with a powerful message (“Listen, you can get fucked by the system, or you can say fuck the system.”), and the group shared a similar call-to-action on Twitter. “We have the POWER to make change together,” they wrote. “These issues are critical for our families, friends, communities, and world. Stay Woke, Take Action Now.”