If you needed a bigger indication of how much the addition of Fergie changed the sound of the Black Eyed Peas, take a look/listen to the one-again-trio’s new single, which takes them back to the days of Joints & Jams but with a social message.

Of course, Will.I.Am has always had a social and political bent to his soul, as his crafting of Yes We Can proves, but many people forget about that due to the fact that he was responsible for the increasingly annoying and nonsensical sound of the group in the last decade.  But they seem to have found their way back (for the moment) and it sounds like they never left.

The old-school jazz horns that introduce and make up the melody of the bulk of the production give the track a somber feel without making the overall sound too dark, something that might have made the heavy subject matter a little harder to take.  There are no abrupt beat switches and the this is definitely not a dance track, but this is probably the most memorable pieces of beatwork they group has worked on in years.

One of the things that people who were into Black Eyed Peas during the Behind The Front and Bridging The Gap days will remember is that, even though their rhymes made sense, they didn’t always flow in a symmetrical way to the music.  You can’t really call it off-kilter because it does fit the beat, but it isn’t a mistake in overloading the bars either because they do it at regular intervals.  Whatever you call it, they have gone back to that here and it really works.  You get the vibe of a mixture of street poetry and casual conversation throughout, and it makes the message of trying to solve the ills of the Black and Brown communities hit home a lot better.

And while we weren’t thrilled with the single use of the n-word by Taboo, we were happy to hear his voice is strong after his battle with cancer.

The really interesting thing about this track is that, not only is it tied into a social awareness campaign (which you can reach by clicking the button below the video), but it apparently accompanies a comicbook co-authored by Will.I.Am.  We haven’t had a chance to get our hands on a copy of Masters of the Sun: The Zombie Chronicles, but a story that contains the fusion of “L.A. Gang culture, B-Boy-ism and Egyptology to tell the heroic tale of a Hip-Hop group from East L.A. who must battle an ancient, alien God sent to earth to continue a Black Curse–which turns drug dealers and gangsters into zombies” sounds interesting enough.