The Roots’ long awaited ninth studio album How I Got Over hasn’t even been out for more than 48 hours and the acclaimed hip-hop outfit has already unveiled its next endeavor.
On September 21st, The Roots and John Legend will unveil a collaborative covers album. Titled Wake Up!, the album will consist of renditions of ten songs from the 1960s and 70s. According to the duo, all the tracks feature “an underlying theme of awareness, engagement and consciousness effectively telling listeners to Wake Up!”
After being inspired by the 2008 Presidential elections, The Roots and Legend began collaborating together on a single — an Arcade Fire cover. Ultimately, however, that collaboration expanded into a full covers album, designed to represent “change, hope and activism not only referencing one particular moment in time, but on a larger scale, holding true no matter what the political climate may be,” according to an issued press release.
The end result is an effort which sees a bit of hip-hop pazazz added to both familiar favorites (Marvin Gaye’s Wholly Holy and Donny Hathaway’s Little Ghetto Boy) and lesser known tracks (Baby Huey and the Babysitters “Hard Times and Mike James Kirkland’s “Hang on in There”). Below, you can find a live cut of The Roots and Legend performing “Hard Times”.
The album will also sport one original track, the Legend-penned “Shine”. The song will also be featured in Academy Award-winning director Davis Guggenheims upcoming documentary film Waiting for Superman.
Of course, this is not the first time The Roots and Legend have worked together. On the aforementioned How I Got Over, Legend appears on a track titled “The Fire”.