The O’Jays — Eddie Levert and Walter Williams — recently sat down with EBONY to discuss their final album, The Last Word, and why they’re still creating music with a message nearly five decades later. The seminal group formed in 1958 and originally consisted of Levert, Williams, William Powell, Bobby Massey and Bill Isles, who passed away on from a battle with cancer last month. During their career, they created 10 gold and nine platinum albums with songs like “Love Train,” “Family Reunion,” and “Cry Together,” that have been passed down through generations of families. “It feels great. I still have some life in me, and I still love doing this,” Williams said about still making music at 75. “The best part is that you said living legends,” Levert, 76, laughingly added. “I love that part.” The best friends added Eric Nolan Grant to the legendary group and created The Last Word. Although it is their 31st album it is their first studio album in 15 years. “This is something that we were working on for quite some time,” the 76-year-old revealed. “Every great act that’s ever been in this business there comes a time where you don’t hear from them. When they finally come back with something [it’s] usually great and blossoms for the whole world. I always felt like we were due to have that breakout album again.” Much like with their earlier music the 2005 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees made a conscious decision push a positive message of love and unity to today’s learners. That effort can be heard on their singles, “Stand Up (Show Love) and “Above the Law.” The gravity of the world not changing in a positive direction is “very sad because we’ve gone nowhere,” according to Levert. Williams, however, disagreed and called the need for social commentary is “intriguing.” He added, “I think it’s time to give that message again considering what’s happening all around us. It’s time to give it again and see if they’ll get it this time.” The two nervously laughed about the state of the world. Williams told Levert that President Donald Trump, whom he referred to as “dude,” is driving divisive rhetoric and that needs to be balanced out by positivity. However, the Bessemer, Alabama native took the time to educate his friend on Black people previously ruling the world and how racism and a lack of progress contributed to some of today’s problem. On this album, the group shared their 60 years worth of experiences and wisdoms with the world. The Last Word, which both singers described as “legendary” and “good” released on Friday. It is available on all streaming platforms.
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