Raheem DeVaughn enlists heavy-hitters on his ‘MasterPeace’

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“He wants inner peace to be found in your life so that your life can be a masterpiece as you listen to his MasterPeace,” Cornell West, Ph.D. says on the interlude to Raheem DeVaughn’s latest album The Love & War MasterPeace.

“He wants inner peace to be found in your life so that your life can be a masterpiece as you listen to his MasterPeace,” Cornell West, Ph.D. says on the interlude to Raheem DeVaughn’s latest album The Love & War MasterPeace.   “It’s easy for artists to get caught in their own world…life is not promised,” DeVaughn, who broadened his horizons in latest work released on March 2, told the Defender. “Definitely had to have Dr. Cornel West on the album it’s a huge honor,” said DeVaughn graciously.    The Love & War MasterPeace is a different approach from what his fans are accustomed to – sultry and soothing slow jams.  He doesn’t abandon his original sound, with the album still offering his signature candlight love music, with a mix of old school soul. Lyrics like “leave your lipstick print all over my body, baby” from the track Bedroom are evidence of that. But DeVaughn also goes political on this album and a 2-disc deluxe version to be released later, with seven additional songs.   If the D.C.-area native’s name doesn’t ring a bell then maybe his Grammy nods do. DeVaughn was nominated for Best Male R&B Performance for the empowering song Woman and Best R&B Song for the sensual Customer from his sophomore album Love Behind the Melody. The album was the advent of his mainstream following.   DeVaughn describes his latest work as “iconic, revolutionary and sensual.”     The first single released off the album, Bulletproof featuring Ludacris, is more than an announcement, it’s a wake up call: “You better pray to the most high or who ever you praise.  Politicians can’t help you they puppets to slaves.”    But the state of affairs in the nation are not as much on his mind as the state of Raheem DeVaughn, as an artist, he said. “Every artist matures…it’s about balance,” and it is obvious on this album  that he’s looking toward “a higher level of consciousness.”    The sociopolitical tracks Nobody Wins a War, a collaboration with 11 artists including Jill Scott and Anthony Hamilton, and Revelations 2010 can be deemed new age soul channeling old school peace music.     In Revelations 2010, which also features reggae artist Damien Marley, the smooth voice of DeVaughn intertwined with the raspy accents of Marley’s pulls you in as they sing: “They are out to bury me. They are out to bury you.  All you can do is arm yourself.”   Even with a plethora of artists featured on his MasterPeace, DeVaugh’s itching to work with others, including Prince and Lauryn Hill, he said.  Shuffle his iPod and he promises there would music from Marvin Gaye, Maxwell, and Curtis Mayfield – who worked with DeVaughn on Bulletproof.   While the message in the music is politically complex, his goal as an artist is quite simple. “I try to create and put out the best music,” he said. West gives him a big thumbs up, along that vein. “My dear brother Raheem DeVaughn the greatest soul singer of his generation is leading the way,” West says on the MasterPeace introduction.  

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