As President Barack Obama serves his last remaining days in the White House, people across the country are remembering the ways in which this man changed the country for the better.
But before he served those eight years there was his historical 2008 campaign, which birthed the chant “Yes We Can.” Invigorating, optimistic and powerful, those three words inevitably turned a dream into a reality: a black man became the president of the United States.
“I was in the middle of campaigning for Barack Obama and feeling inspired by the atmosphere in the country at the time, so I wanted to do something musically that reflected that moment,” Legend said in an interview with Billboard. “The original idea was to do some sort of covers EP, but the more I got into it with the Roots, it felt like something that should be heard and marketed on its own.”
Wake Up! was simultaneously a soundtrack of black artistry and history in America. The Roots and Legend told a story through the album’s 12 tracks. By selecting more obscure songs from important black artists such as Bill Withers, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye and Nina Simone, the two were able to have a certain freedom with the music that they normally would not have with more recognizable music.
That idea of freedom — from album opener “Hard Times” to finale “Shine” — is symbolic of the black American experience. That regardless of the trials and tribulations we endure we still manage to overcome and succeed, and redefine the idea of what it means to be American and, most importantly, what it means to be free.
Wake Up! is heavily bootlegged for this reason, its last original pressing occurring in 2010. A collaborative endeavor made between two of music’s most important artists, this album represents a time in history that changed the course of America’s future for the better.
Now, here is the opportunity to cop an official reissue with two options: orange and ultra clear. The former has 1,500 and the latter 1,000. So, 2,500 in total, with pre order beginning on December 6. Once all of these are purchased who knows when the next reissue will be. Why not give yourself peace of mind and pre order one of these limited edition records, that will likely sell out following its January 13, 2017, release date?
Wake Up! was the initial soundtrack to an America that showed that this country, in all of its flaws, was able to move forward. The album foreshadowed the releases of Legend’s Darkness and Light, and Common‘s Black America Again.
In times such as these, Wake Up! is a reminder to stay not only optimistic but vigilant. To stay conscious and (to borrow the popular colloquialism from Erykah Badu) woke is something we must do, in hopes of maintaining the progress that President Obama has created for us for years to come.
Check out our shop to purchase Wake Up! when pre order begins, as well as a number of other items perfect for the holidays.