Video: John Legend & The Roots – Hard Times (Live In Studio Performance)

John Legend and The Roots cover Baby Huey and the Babysitters’ “Hard Times” for their collaboration album Wake Up!, in stores on September 21st. Black Thought also raps a little something on this.

Full press release after the jump. Really looking forward to this.

Previously: The Roots feat. John Legend – The Fire | Doin It Again

New York (June 24, 2010) – Musical powerhouses John Legend & The Roots are presenting fans with a fiery new offering, Wake Up! The upcoming CD, being released by Sony Music on September 21, 2010, will feature soulful music from the 60’s and 70’s all with an underlying theme of awareness, engagement and consciousness— effectively telling listeners to Wake Up!

After being inspired by the recent historical Presidential election campaign of 2008, the R&B singer Legend and hip-hop band The Roots felt a need to enter the action. What started as plans for a single quickly developed into a passionate album representing 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.

The resulting album features eleven profoundly evocative songs infused with sounds of gospel, rock and reggae inflections with hip-hop influences. The album is highlighted by familiar tracks like “Wholly Holy” by Marvin Gaye and “Little Ghetto Boy” by Donny Hathaway mixed with the more obscure selections of Baby Huey and the Babysitters’ “Hard Times,” and “Hang on in There” by Mike James Kirkland.

“These songs sound so relevant now,” Legend says. “On most of them, you wouldn’t change a lyric. ‘Wake Up Everybody’ (the album’s first single, featuring contributions from Melanie Fiona and Common) has four verses—the first one is a general statement, the second is about education, third is about health care, and the fourth is about making a better environment. No editing needed.”

“When these songs were written, people were more spiritually in tune,” says Roots drummer/musical director Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson. “It was fresh from the civil rights era and there was a feeling of hope that maybe, yes, someday we will all be free. In 2010, not so much.”

The album features one original composition, Legend’s song “Shine,” which is featured in Academy Award-winning director Davis Guggenheim’s upcoming documentary film Waiting for Superman. The song, a “Stevie-Wonder-meets-gospel” stunner, clearly demonstrates the strengths of this specific group of musicians. Wake Up! blends Legend’s expressive, thoughtful vocal interpretations with an element of funk that only The Roots can provide.

Bringing John Legend & The Roots together is an inspired pairing, so logical that it’s a little surprising they haven’t teamed up in a proper collaboration before. John Legend is a six-time Grammy winner whose three albums have all hit Number One on the Billboard R&B charts, and who has collaborated with such artists as Kanye West, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, and the Black Eyed Peas. The Roots—currently visible nightly as the stupendously versatile house band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon—have released nine acclaimed studio albums (including the recent How I Got Over) and redefined the relationship between live instruments and hip-hop.

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20 Responses to “Video: John Legend & The Roots – Hard Times (Live In Studio Performance)”

  1. kevfrescura de talco Says:

    Bigspitgame Says:
    June 24th, 2010 at 1:12 pm
    The Day>>>>



  2. kevfrescura de talco Says:

    *daps nate*

  3. Beezy Says:

    Worst of Both Worlds

  4. Bigspitgame Says:

    I kinda hoped their project was gonna be all new original shit FTW… I guess this has potential too

  5. G7 Says:

    Rey The Hussein: Nah Right’s Biggest Loser

    A Beezy Joint

    *dead*, Beezy you about to start some shit now with this.

  6. cOLD Says:

    my piece bang glass tables.

  7. b-ease Says:

    I’m bout to cop this Roots LP. Better not be sleep inducing…

    *daps all*


    Peedi Crakk needs to work with the Roots more often

  9. G7 Says:

    *daps* bri-ease

  10. G7 Says:

    >>that new Roots album is FIYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH

    ^haven’t heard anything about this album yet. chances are i’ll cop.

  11. Bigspitgame Says:

    A freshly champed black&mild after a stick (n) a grand daddy kush and the title track off the legendary roots lp>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  12. KzA Says:

    thats kinda sick pilot talk is droppin on my birthday. Im gonna grab that and the roots joint I think… and teflon don

  13. kevfrescura de talco Says:


    that s.t.s dude switch up flows suh’um crazy.

  14. b-ease Says:

    1 min ago
    Peedi Crakk needs to work with the Roots more often


  15. cOLD Says:

    Peedi Crakk needs to work with the Roots more often

    ^ for why?

  16. Bigspitgame Says:

    Crakk been on the last 2 3 roots albums… And he got joints wit black thought dolo

  17. Bigspitgame Says:

    How I Got Over>>>> Recovery>>> TML

    go ahead and disagree

  18. Nah Right » John Legend & The Roots - Our Generation Says:

    […] campaign gets pioneering artists to recreate songs that inspired them, which just so happens to be the overall theme of John Legend & The Roots’ new album Wake Up!, which will also feature this […]

  19. Nah Right » John Legend & The Roots – Wake Up! (Artwork + Tracklist) Says:

    […] Compared To What 2. Hard Times 3. Little Ghetto Boy 4. Wake Up Everybody feat. Common & Melanie Fiona 5. Our Generation 6. […]

  20. Nah Right » John Legend & The Roots feat. Black Thought – Hard Times Says:

    […] has spawned so many notable hip hop samples, with Black Thought spitting on this one. There’s a video for an in-studio performance of this song too. Wake Up! drops September […]

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