John Legend delivers a music video for his Chance the Rapper-assisted “Penthouse Floor,” a fan favorite off his latest studio album, Darkness and Light.
The socially-charged visual displays the separation between the people at the bottom (the protestors and men and women primarily affected by social issues) and folks at the top (the rich and people who have the power to change things.) The clip also features symbols of Black Lives Matter, President Donald Trump, and Colin Kaepernick.
According to Legend, the song started as a reference for upward mobility and escapism. “The more I sat with the song as I was making the record, I wanted to have more attention in the song where I was thinking about not just upward mobility and escaping, but also thinking about what it means to come from humble beginnings like I come from, a blue collar family, where people that are often ignored and forgotten about, and to elevate to more rarified air like I am now but to not forget about where you come from,” he told Complex. “And to use your power and status to uplift people and shine a light on places where we come from. That is what the song lyrically evolved to and that is what the video represents.”
Legend also spoke kindly about his collaborator Chance The Rapper, who doesn’t appear in the video. “I was so happy for him to be on the song, and would have loved for him to be in the video but it just didn’t work out logistically,” he said. “I love his verse because it’s really clever and perfectly captures what the song is about.”
Legend also touched on rapper Eminem’s freestyle during the recent BET Hip Hop Awards.
“I love that he’s saying we all live in this country together, and if you vote for that then you are saying certain things about what you believe and what you want this country to be,” he said. “When [Trump] says that Mexicans are rapist and killers, you can’t vote for him and not own that. When he says that he wants to ban Muslims, you can’t vote for him and not own that. When he’s the birther-in-chief and questioning the credentials of Barack Obama, the first black president, you can’t vote for him and not own all of that. Eminem is saying if you voted for that and you own that, then we are not on the same team, and I have to concur.”