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Video: The Roots and John Legend on Their Soul LP 'Wake Up'

"It's a reaction to what passes as soul music," says ?uestlove

August 6, 2010 4:56 PM ET

John Legend and the Roots' ?uestlove recently stopped by the Rolling Stone offices to preview their upcoming "gritty and raw" soul collaboration Wake Up! . The LP features Legend and the Roots adding some funk flavor to socially conscious songs by soul legends like Donny Hathaway, Bill Withers and Marvin Gaye while putting a modern twist to obscure cuts like Baby Huey and the Babysitters' "Hard Times," with ?uestlove calling their rendition "the funkiest song ever created in the last 10 years."

The Roots drummer says Wake Up! is "a reaction to what passes as soul music." "Black music, all forms of it, lost the emotional spirituality and realness that it once had," ?uestlove tells RS. "With hip-hop, although they sample '70s music, they dress it up with very contemporary flourishing… with this record, I get to become vicariously a member of the JB's," referring to James Brown's legendary backing band. For more on Wake Up!, due out September 21st, check out the video above and The Roots, John Legend Refresh Sixties Protest Songs on 'Wake Up.'

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

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Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

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