Raheem DeVaughn

Now that Van Hunt's third album, Popular, originally scheduled to drop last month, has been dumped by Blue Note and is officially MIA, we're going to have to do with Raheem DeVaughn as R&B's resident boho wild-child/bon vivant who gets us all moist with his sensual soul ditties. It's actually not a bad swap. His sophomore release, Love Behind the Melody, featuring production work by everyone from Scott Storch to Kenny Dope to Bryan-Michael Cox to former old-school rapper Kwame, shows the Maryland-based singer hasn't lost the carnal cravings that made his 2005 debut The Love Experience so delicious. The best tunes have him aching for amore like a character in an Alan Rudolph movie. On "Customer," he mimics (mocks?) R. Kelly's free-association style of sweet-talking songwriting, comparing himself to the best Happy Meal a sista could ever have. ("If you want me supersized with some loving on the side...") On "Marathon," he dives headfirst into an all-night lovemaking session/endurance test with Floetry, and carries on about it feeling "so damn good to be used" on the lingering "Desire." And "Mo Better" has him throwing in some early '70s-style horns to tell how much he needs a lady to brighten up his day. As a passionate romantic through and through, I can't help but think of Jon Lovitz's old Harvey Fierstein impersonation on SNL. DeVaughn just wants to be loved — is that so wrrrrronnnggg?

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Craig D. Lindsey
Contact: Craig D. Lindsey