John Legend, who has worked closely with the Roots in the past, co-hosted the Sixth Annual Roots Jam Session at the Key Club in Hollywood, on Jan. 30. During the pre-Grammy extravaganza, an all-star lineup of artists including Estelle, Mos Def, Jay Electronica, Scott Storch and Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda took the stage to perform at the invite-only concert. But before wrapping up his MC duties, Legend dropped some welcomed news, notifying the crowd that he had been working on a new album with the Roots which was set for a summer release. Though Legend has worked with several high profile producers in the past few years including Kanye West, The Neptunes and Will.I.Am., the Roots will reportedly produce the entire upcoming album.
Originally, 'The Wake Up Sessions' was a series of politically-charged cover songs featuring the Roots as the backing band. The recordings were to be included as a bonus disc to Legend's 2008 album, 'Evolver.' Among the reworked tracks were Terence Trent D'arby's 'I Have Faith In These Desolate Times,' Arcade Fire's 'Wake Up,' Donny Hathaway's 'Little Ghetto Boy,' Mike James Kirkland's 'Hang On in There' and Bill Withers' 'I Can't Write Left-Handed,' which Legend covered at the Roots Jam. No word on which will make the final tracklist, but 'The Wake Up Sessions' is scheduled to drop later this year.