Black Music Month Spotlight: Raphael Saadiq
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on MadameNoire July 14, 2014.
I’ve been a huge fan of Raphael Saadiq for years. From his Tony! Toni! Tone! days, to his solo efforts like Ray Ray and Instant Vintage, he can do no wrong in my eyes. Plus, aside from having an awesome voice and playing a mean guitar, he’s behind some of my favorite R&B/soul/neo-soul joints over the years. He’s worked with just about everyone, and there hasn’t been a song he’s contributed his talents to that I haven’t appreciated. Here are just a few of his many musical contributions to your ears.
Untitled (How Does It Feel) by D’Angelo
This isn’t the first time Saadiq and D’Angelo made magic together (but I’ll let you click through to find out the other time). The hit song that was the lead single from the critically acclaimed Voodoo album was co-written and co-produced by Saadiq. He plays bass guitar on the song, which won a Grammy for Best Male Vocal R&B Performance.
Kissing You by Total
I think anytime you hear some killer guitar or bass guitar open a song, it was probably played by Saadiq (see his work on Teedra Moses’ “Take Me” for another example). Saadiq produced this song, which I consider Total’s best, played guitar on it, and provided background vocals in the bridge (“Yeah, yeah, yeaaaaaaaaaah”).
Lady by D’Angelo
If you paid attention to the video, you probably noticed Saadiq in the background playing the bass guitar in a Polo Sport sweater…Saadiq actually did more than that, as he co-wrote and produced the song alongside D’Angelo.
Brotha by Angie Stone
To help show some love to the brothas, Stone teamed up with Saadiq for this jam. The R&B titan produced this beloved song, composed it and played the bass guitar on it (obviously his specialty).
Love of My Life by Erykah Badu
This was actually a big surprise for me, but when you really listen to “Love of My Life,” it all makes sense. Saadiq produced this Grammy-winning song for the Brown Sugar soundtrack. The ode to Hip-Hop was also a big hit on the charts, peaking at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
Tell Me ’bout It by Joss Stone
Saadiq was actually behind the funkier sound Stone adopted in 2007. He was the main producer behind her album Introducing Joss Stone, and produced this hit song. He arranged the horns, and of course, played the bass guitar and electric guitar on the track, which was Stone’s first to chart on the U.S. Billboard charts.
Soul Sista by Bilal
It makes sense that Saadiq would be behind this sensual jam, which appeared on the Love and Basketball soundtrack and was the lead single for Bilal’s debut album, 1st Born Second. Saadiq co-produced the song with ?uestlove (who appears in the video playing drums) and Dahoud Darien.
Fine by Whitney Houston
What do you know about this cut from her compilation album, Whitney: The Greatest Hits? The song was written and produced by Saadiq and Q-Tip (credited as Kamaal Fareed). The orchestra that can be heard playing strings in the song was arranged by Saadiq. Again, this man can do no wrong I tell you…
Show Me by John Legend
Yet another beautiful song that opened with a killer guitar, Saadiq was co-producer of the song about a person of faith trying to make sense of all the tragedy going on in the world. Saadiq also plays the strings on this haunting yet beautiful effort from the Once Again album.
Better Man by Musiq Soulchild
A song featured not only on Soulchild’s album, Luvanmusiq, “Better Man” was also given the chance to show on the soundtrack for the hit Tyler Perry movie, Why Did I Get Married? (the good one, not the sequel…just saying). And you guessed it: Saadiq played the strings on this song as well, but also did his thing on the keyboard too!