Throwback Thursday: Raphael Saadiq

If you know anything about R&B, you know about Rapahel Saadiq, even if you’ve never heard the guy’s name before. But you should’ve heard his name before, even if you haven’t, and if you don’t know anything about R&B I’m going to introduce you to Raphael Saadiq anyway. Because you should definitely know his name, even if you don’t.

You see what I’m sayin’?

raphaelsaadiq2In a historical sense, Saadiq was the lead singer and bass player for the multi-platinum group Tony! Toni! Toné!, who had quite a bit of success in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and then later joined up with former members of En Vogue and A Tribe Called Quest to form a one-time R&B super-group known as Lucy Pearl. They, too, were rife with badassery.

It was his first solo album, however, that I found to be particularly interesting. With complete control over the production of 2002’s “Instant Vintage,” Saadiq did some crazy stuff with basslines, everything from heavy synths to the plug-in bass to the stand-up bass to the freakin’ tuba. The bassline is such an underrated—and often underwhelming—aspect of music that it was extremely refreshing to see someone being so playful with the possibilities low-register instruments can provide.

Plus, “You Should Be Here,” which features D’Angelo, was one of the most ridiculous songs of ’02. Sick beat, smooth vocals, and, of course, a bassline that swims all over the place. Other notable tracks include “Charlie Ray,” “People,” and “Still Ray” (the one with the tuba).

The album earned tons of accolades, including five Grammy nominations and tons of spots on varying “Best Of” lists. It is, in Saadiq’s own words, “gospedelic,” and certainly worthy of a purchase.

His 2008 record, “The Way I See It,” is the business, too. But that’s too modern for throwback status. We’ll save that for another day. In the meantime, be glad you know Raphael Saadiq’s name. You know a little more about R&B and neo-soul, because you should.

And now you do.

Check out the video for “Be Here,” featuring D’Angelo:

About the Author

Joel Brigham writes about stuff. It’s pretty much all he cares about. Stuff like music and more music. But he mostly cares about music. And also music.

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