7 Iconic Albums You Didn’t Know Feature John Legend

John Legend didn’t just happen upon his stage name, he earned it by first becoming a legend behind the scenes. Before he was the powerhouse pianist-vocalist we know and love today, he was performing in the background of some of pop, hip-hop, and R&B’s most legendary creations.

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Legend’s young career saw him working with the best and he soon joined them. Here are seven iconic albums you may not have known feature John Legend.

1. Graduation – Kanye West (2007)

Legend can be heard lending his vocals to the background of tracks like “Good Life” and “The Glory” on Kanye West’s 2007 hit record, Graduation. Several of West’s other albums, like The College Dropout and Late Registration, all see the vocal stylings of Legend.

2. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – Lauryn Hill (1998)

Lauren Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill features Legend’s piano chops, specifically on the hip-hop soul song, “Everything Is Everything.” He is credited under his birth name, John R. Stephens.

3. The Black Album – Jay-Z (2003)

Jay-Z’s 2003 The Black Album also sees assistance from Legend. His backing vocals can be found alongside West’s on the track “Encore.” The album sees a number of other famous voices, including Pharrell Williams and Cedric the Entertainer.

4. Be – Common (2005)

Legend also lent his harmonies to Common’s 2005 album, Be. His backing vocals can be heard on “They Say,” another that also featured West, as well as the song, “Faithful.” Comedian Dave Chappelle and guitarist John Mayer can also be found on the record.

5. Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace – Big & Rich (2007)

Country duo Big & Rich recruited Legend for their 2007 album, Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace. The R&B artist provided vocals to introduce their piano-powered hit “Eternity.”

6. Elephunk – The Black Eyed Peas (2003)

While not easily discernible, Legend provides vocals to The Black Eyed Peas’ early 2000s banger, “The Boogie That Be” from their album, Elephunk. In fact, he co-penned the tune with Black Eyed Peas member will.i.am.

7. The Diary of Alicia Keys – Alicia Keys (2003)

Fellow skilled pianist-vocalist Alicia Keys recruited Legend for her sophomore album, The Diary of Alicia Keys. The record features his background vocals on the track “You Don’t Know My Name.”

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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