This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Black Eyed Peas, and to celebrate the group has ended their five-year hiatus by unveiling their surprise new music video for “Yesterday.” In the video, Will.i.am, Taboo and Apl.de.Ap – but not Fergie, who didn’t joined the group until 2002 – pay tribute to all the classic hip-hop that inspired them early on. The single itself is also more reminiscent of that old-school sound than their latter-day pop hits like “My Humps” and “Boom Boom Pow.”
The “Yesterday” music video is set in a record shop where Black Eyed Peas sift through and pluck all the LPs that influenced them. “Take them back to the future / take them to the true school / ’cause we were breaking atoms, live at the barbecue,” Will.i.am says in his opening verse, referencing hip-hop greats Main Source. Soon after, employing an animated album cover motif similar to Roy Kafri’s “Mayokero,” the Black Eyed Peas are interpolating Black Sheep’s “The Choice Is Yours” along with that LP’s cover art.
Other album covers that get the BEP treatment are Digable Planets’ Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space), De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising, A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario” single, Pete Rock and CL Smooth’s “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.),” Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s Return to the 36 Chambers, Das EFX’s Dead Serious, Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton and Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
However, after five minutes of reflecting on hip-hop’s golden age, Will.i.am starts repeating “I’m taking you to the future” as the backing beat becomes more elastic, slowed down and comparable to Black Eyed Peas’ newer albums. The shift perhaps hints towards what the group has in store when they release the follow-up to 2010’s The Beginning.