John Legend shares his early friendship and collaboration with Kanye West in his new Audible Original project Living legend.
“While other MCs might have been wearing throwback jerseys and rapping about him dishing out his beats with coke, Kanye, he stood out,” recalls the EGOT winner in a clip that will premiere exclusively on billboard under. “He was preppy, he wore his polo shirts and his college clothes, and he lyrically explored various topics like his own insecurities and his relationship with God.”
Aside from how West differed from his hip-hop contemporaries at the time, Legend credited the rising superstar with helping bring a modern twist to his 2004 debut To get picked upwhich would establish Legend as a rising R&B star after peaking in the top five on the Billboard 200.
“It was so important for me to work with Kanye at this point in my career,” he said. “It really upgraded my sound and made it feel more urgent and ready for prime time. He brought his hip hop drums and sensibilities together with my musicality and my roots and gospel and soul and we made something fresh and beautiful.
“I was more of an old soul and I think on my own my music wouldn’t have been so cool if it wasn’t for someone like Kanye who influenced me. and To get picked up became what it was because we worked together, because [of] our connection because we merge our sounds. And I’ve had a pretty significant impact on too The college dropout also. You hear my voice and musicianship on many of his records too, even if you don’t know it’s me.”
Legend’s once-close kinship with West, however, hit a roadblock when the “Wonder Woman” singer decided not to support his pal’s ill-fated 2020 bid for the presidency and instead campaign for Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Listen to a preview of Legend’s Living legend audio project below.