'Translation': The Black Eyed Peas drop album featuring Shakira, fans say they'll only stream Latina star's song
The Black Eyed Peas have released their new album, 'Translation', featuring collaborations with Shakira and Maluma, among others. The record is a Latin-influenced release that the group shared in an interview with ET Online was their attempt at sharing some joy with the world amid the "doom and gloom." Will.i.am told ET that making music amid the coronavirus pandemic gave him "peace." He stated, "Turning in the record was like, 'This is what's keeping me. This has given me life right now. This is the only joy that I have. And then it's like, 'I gotta share that joy with the rest of the world.'" The group also declared they weren't going anywhere anytime soon, with Taboo stating, "We always know that there are people out there trying to be the next Black Eyed Peas. We are hungry, and we are not giving up our spot. We are here, 2020. We got a new record coming, and we are excited that we owned it and we're still doing it on the big scale!"
Right off the bat, it was clear which song off the album was the fan-favorite: 'Girl Like Me' featuring Shakira. Speaking about the collaboration Will.i.am said, "I thought I was a perfectionist ... Shakira is on a totally different level! She comes with notes, and it's awesome. But she does it in a very gentle, humble, sweet way, to where you just wanna please all of her concerns. And that takes a very skilled negotiator, a great collaborator. It was a joy to work with her." And fans are ecstatic to hear new music from the Latin diva. "SHAKIRA is back! Stream #GirlLikeMe!" tweeted one fan, another said, "The way Shakira is the biggest name, and there’s not even a doubt about that," and one fan shared, "We will stream for Shakira only." And the Shakira love only continued, as one fan said, "Shakira Latin legend," another tweeted, "Only listening because of Shakira," and one stated, "I'm only gonna stream and buy Shakira's song. The others don't matter."
If it seems odd to anyone that BEP, a group that has been seemingly beloved for over two decades, is garnering such lukewarm responses, then the answer to that lies in tweets like "New album without Fergie?!" and "Black Eyed Peas better with Fergie." Unfortunately for the group, no amount of good music will change the opinions of listeners, who want a Fergie-led BEP record or they don't want a BEP record at all. This stance was, for many, solidified by Will.i.am's comments on Fergie, including his statements implying she was never part of the group in the first place.
Another reason BEP is receiving the cold shoulder from fans is that many see them dipping their toes into Latin music as a way for the group to stay 'relevant'. After all, Latin music has been taking the world by storm in recent years, with the likes of Bad Bunny becoming overnight sensations and social media superstars. 'Translation' features some of the biggest names in Latin music, such as Shakira and Maluma, in addition to contemporary icons like J Balvin and stars like Ozuna and Becky G. To top it off, the album also includes more international artistes like Moroccan-American rapper French Montana, in addition to diving more into BEP's own roots with a Tyga collaboration. All up, it appears the album has tapped into several areas of what is currently popular in music, but that doesn't necessarily sit too well with listeners, with many tweeting the group "should've stuck to 2008 music" as well as asking, "They’re still around? Chile," and other confused listeners stating, "Black Eyed Peas doing Latin music now I guess?"
For their part, BEP has stated that their reason for branching out into Latin music as an extension of their desire to dominate the urban music scene. Will.i.am told ET Online, "I was in the gym the other day and [Epic Records CEO] Sylvia Rhone was like, 'Will, as a black man, name another producer that competes in pop over multiple decades and switches genres and succeeds in every genre that they competed in," referring to BEP's success in everything from electronica and dance to pop and their own rap and hip hop roots. "Like, Black Eyed Peas is a black group. You got two black guys and a Latin, and that is as urban as it gets." He continued, "We're switching genres ... aiming at different demographics, and succeeding in every way. So, it feels really good to have success and to collaborate with great artists like J Balvin. Maluma and Ozuna on this new Translation record."
Unfortunately, that isn't enough of an explanation for some fans. To that end, the Shakira love is also tinged with a bit of shade towards BEP. "Shakira doing charity," tweeted one fan and another said, "Shakira carried it all." And the shade went beyond just the Shakira fans, as some users tweeted, "Features rlly carried this unknown artist I'm-" and others stated the high number of features was simply "To make up for no Fergie." And from here on, comments demanding Fergie's return only intensified, with some tweeting "We want Fergie back in the band," others stating, "If there’s not Fergie we don’t want it,"
Some fans called out the comments asking for Fergie, however, stating "Fergie released a spectacular album three years ago and you guys let it die. and now you ask for her. hypocrites." The album in question is 2017's 'Double Dutchess', which is largely seen as having 'flopped', especially in comparison to her debut solo effort, 2006's 'The Dutchess', which was a huge success. It appears that fans are still bitter about Fergie's unceremonious departure from the group, and despite BEP's attempt to release a contemporary album, most fans have responded with a resounding "we pass, thanks."