Raheem DeVaughn’s ‘Masterpeace’ Is A Masterpiece

With a resounding introduction speech from none other than Dr. Cornel West, Raheem DeVaughn's new album, The Love & War Masterpeace, begins with an exclamation point that doesn't end, even after the last song.

"...we talkin' about revitalization..." Dr. West says about this CD and
that is what this release does--it revitalizes the game, taking it next
level. DeVaughn does what Marvin Gaye did so effortlessly it
seemed--speak of political and social issues within a musical landscape
that never lacks in rich Soul melodies and grit. Raheem's sound is
heavily marked by Marvin's influence on this disc--particularly on the
endlessly beautiful "Garden of Love"--and this new project would make
the legend proud. Where other Gaye imitators like Chico DeBarge and Robin Thicke
have borrowed only from his playbook, Raheem has used Marvin's sound as
a springboard to create a contemporary fusion of old and new. With Ludacris on the first single, "Bulletproof," Raheem brings us the next chapter in the book that What's Going On began about our lives ", overseas and across the waters..."

Raheem is evidently in a mood of collaboration (as we saw with his recent feature on Tabi Bonney's "Fever") and this CD is heavy with featured guests on songs besides Luda, including Wale on the head-nodder "Greatness," Damian Marley on the socially critical "Revelations 2010" and Malik Yusef
on the very sexy ballad "Fragile". Every single one of these collabos
work. Wale adds the necessary lyrical flow to "Greatness" without
taking the focus away from Raheem, while Marley on "Revelations 2010"
adds the funk to this already Soul-blazed song about the social and
political war on Black men.

The best collaboration on the CD,
however, is "Nobody Wins a War," which is 100 times better than any
tribute song we've heard with a heavy set of celebrity vocalists on the
mic. This song features Raheem on lead with verses and chorus sung by
the likes of Jill Scott, Bilal, Anthony Hamilton, Algebra, Chrisette Michele, Shelby Johnson, Ledisi, Citizen Cope, Dwele, Chico DeBarge and Rudy Currence. Pure beauty.

Raheem DeVaughn feat. Jill Scott, Bilal, Anthony Hamilton, Algebra,
Chrisette Michele, Shelby Johnson, Ledisi, Citizen Cope, Dwele,
Chico DeBarge and Rudy Currence: "Nobody Wins A War"

The Love & War Masterpeace is searingly open and honest.
While Raheem is a superior vocalist, with a falsetto that is equally
matched with stellar lower registers, he has taken as much care with
his lyrics this go round as he has with his voice. The track "Black and
Blue" about domestic abuse is a welcome addition to this collection in
the aftermath of the Chris Brown and Rihanna drama that
has brought the question of unhealthy relationships to the forefront.
Still speaking of relationships on "My Wife," Raheem tells it like India.Arie
did on her song "Ready for Love," letting the world know he is ready to
receive his life partner. "...don't want no girlfriend..." he sings,
"...not five, not three, just one."

Describing this album as next level is not simply a reference to
Raheem's lyrical, production and vocal skills. Beyond the artful
incorporation of relevant issues within his songs, he has also created
the first song I am aware of that speaks of the benefits of human
lovemaking versus the use of a vibrator on "B.O.B." Don't ask. Just
listen. And just add this once to your collection.

Raheem DeVaughn The Love & War Masterpeace [Amazon][iTunes]

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16 Responses

  1. "Nobody Wins a War" is incredible! Jill absolutely kills her poem!! The CD is pretty good. It's good to see Rah bringing it again after his pop tart effort with "Love Behind the Melody.

  2. Love Chrisette Michelle on this song, with the collection of other artist, her vocal stylings add a nice texture amongst the other great vocalist

  3. Part of me wants the entire world to listen to this man's music so that he keeps making it. Part of me hopes he forever remains r&b's best kept secret. Great album!

  4. A Masterpiece indeed.
    And Hype: I'm condidering making this album my morning Facebook post until next years Grammy nominations.

  5. Wow. Jill Scott really kilt one hell of a song. I'm sad that I don't have the album yet, but rest assured, it's pretty high up on my list of priorities!

  6. Yessir! So many talented artists not getting props - thank god for Pandora on my Droid, cause I'm in the ATL and can't get no love for most of these real soul artist - Ra Amel India Gaopele Corrine Dwele, etc.... I used to be a Hip-Hop head and still got love, but we all grow - expand - grown up shit!

  7. "Gets no Love", meaning I don't hear these artist on ANY of the so-called black stations down here... unless Luda got 16 on it - but Raheem shouldn't have to go there. 90's Game is dead (greed sucked every dime out the industry, just like everything else...), respect the craft and f*ck what ya A&R said! I used to love H.E.R.

  8. This album is amazing, "Hopeless Romantic" has stopped me in my tracks among others. But right now I can't get past that one. My what good music can do.

  9. I'll be buying this today. I'm lisitening to snippets of all the songs and loving it, just like I loved his first album (I took a pass on album #2). i'm excited! Go 'head Raheem!

  10. Raheem IS the man. Aint no cat in R&B even touching Rah........I preordered the joint from Amazon cant wait for it to get here.

  11. I absolutely love this album!!! I stayed up until 11 p.m March 1st just to buy this album and I've been listening to it all day and night. I bought the delux edition which was very much worth it!!!

  12. Personally, I could have gone without Jill's poem. She should stick to singing. I still liked the song, though. 🙂

  13. @ michelle d.a ditto. i love the song but jill poem and her delivery sounded forced to me. i still love her though.

  14. I love this CD. This is my first official DeVaughn purchase.. . It is absolutely refreshing. His lyrical ability is superb.. I don't care with wale, ... and his social consciousness is appreciated. Reminds me of Marvin and Donny's masterpieces! EVERYONE, this is a must have for your collection!

  15. Just got the album and your review is so on point... I cant get over how excellent his vocals are throughout. I adore/ have a unhealthy infatuation with The Love Experience but this one reminds me of that initial effort as far as lyrical content LOVE IT. This just needs to be heard by everyone.

  16. Well written article! This album is definitely a masterpiece fore sure! I am a devoted Raheem DeVaughn music lover, but after hearing the list of guest on the album I was concerned. I was able to preview quite a few tracks in the last few months, thanks to UStream. I must admit this album is even better than what I expected. The soul on this album is amazing. I can feel Marvin, Curtis, and Prince inspirations on this album. Every song was so well put together, this album is just a breath of fresh air. If you don't have the deluxe version you are truly cheating yourself. "Super Hero" is superb, and every mother should have a chance to listen it.
    I agree with "My Type of Hype" a part of me wants to be selfish but a part of me wants the whole world to hear this masterpiece.