Piano Politics

John Legend pivots between commentator and entertainer

That didn't stop R&B and rap artists of the past, from Marvin Gaye's What's Going On to KRS-One's "Stop the Violence." But there's obviously a huge disconnect between eras — rap redefined R&B in the '90's, stripping from it the sensual passion of the Curtis Mayfields and Gayes and replacing it with bling, bling, more bling, and R. Kelly's bump 'n' grind philosophy. What happened?

"Overall, I think there might be a more complacent feeling in our generation," Legend says. "Not enough of us care about it, not enough of us talk about it, not enough of us vote. There's a general apathy there." There's also the fact that the growing disparity between rich and poor breeds contempt between the two. "One of the comments people always make in class warfare is that we're trying to make the poor hate the rich," he says. "No one wants the poor to hate the rich. At least I don't. I'm rich, and I don't want them to hate me."

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