Monday, May 23, 2011


Is Raphael Saadiq the most underrated guy in music these days?  Could be! He has the respect of music fans and musicians alike, and is relatively well known. He's never become a huge star. That's a shame, I really dug his last album, 2008's The Way I See It, and I also like his new one, Stone Rollin'.

The last one was a tribute to old school Motown, and this one sort of splits the difference between Motown and Chess. He still brings his distinctive voice, as a singer and songwriter, to the record. The title track is the standout here (as "100 Yard Dash" was on the last album) and sounds like Smokey producing Muddy.  I know that that's high praise, but I really dig the song.

The thing that strikes me about the album is how out of synch it is with the mainstream. There aren't really many nods to contemporary hip-hop or R&B on the album (other than Taura Stinson's guest vocals on "Good Man"). No high profile guest appearances: Robert Randolph plays on "Day Dreams" and Larry Graham makes a guest appearance on a hidden bonus track.

Saadiq knows where the mainstream is: his original group, Tony! Toni! Tone! had quite a few hits.  And he's worked with superstars like Whitney and Snoop. But he's not letting it sway his vision, I just wish there were more outlets to help make this record a commercial success.  That's why it's important for YOU to pick it up (I mean to say, BUY it) and tell other music lovers about it.

1 comment:

Eric said...

I could not agree with you more. Raphael's last disc was a gem. I feel this one is the crown jewel. Next time, I am breaking into the Tower of London to steal his music. He keeps getting better with each release. So glad you mentioned Toni! Tony! Tone! (sorry, that may be a bit off...)because I liked them in college. buy have come to admire and respect Raphael. This one is one for the books. I love it, and hope others take notice as well.