Jazz songstress, Nina Simone once said, “An artist’s duty as far as I’m concerned is to reflect the times”. This thought is lost on a lot of music artists now who just want to party and bullshit their way up the charts. Enter John Legend who with the assistance of the talented legendary Roots Crew, to step up to the plate and reflect using revolutionary songs from some of the 1960’s and 70’s that shines light on the plights that plague America in these times (i.e., recession, poverty and war…etc). WAKE UP! isn’t a throwback album, while all of the songs are some of the most noted Soul protest songs, Baby Huey’s “Hard Times” and Bill Withers “I Can’t Write Left Handed” (which clocks in around 11 minutes, one of THE best tracks) which Roots’ guitarist Kirk “Cap’t Kirk” Douglas lets loose with a dynamic solo , Donny Hathaway’s “Little Ghetto Boy”. Legend’s vocals sometime fall short , but The Roots musicianship coupled with Black Thought’s lyrics grabs the ball and carries it home.
The message that WAKE UP! delivers comes ringing through loud and clear, let’s hope these songs of change inspire a new generation of people.
Hard Times (f/Black Thought)
Compared to What
Wake Up Everybody (f/Common & Melanie Fiona)
Our Generation (The Hope of the World) (f/CL Smooth)
Little Ghetto Boy (prelude) (f/Yusef Malik)
Little Ghetto Boy (f/Black Thought)
Hang on in There
Humanity (Love the Way it Should Be)
I Can’t Write Left Handed
I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free