“Ask Of You” To “Cranes In The Sky”: The Best Songs Written By Raphael Saadiq
Raphael Saadiq is having quite the career resurgence. Of course, he never floundered in the music business. After starting out playing bass for Sheila E for Prince’s “Parade Tour,” reaching stardom with Tony! Toni! Tone!, taking part in Lucy Pearl, and then going solo, Raphael Saadiq has always been pretty busy. And when the 50-year-old is not making his own music, he’s writing and producing for countless other talented musicians. As of late, he’s been everywhere, though. He was executive producer of Solange’s critically-acclaimed A Seat at the Table album. He also appeared on Netflix’s popular show Luke Cage and is composer for Issa Rae’s hit HBO comedy, Insecure. As Saadiq put it while speaking with Billboard recently, “I work every day — I barely see daylight unless I go out to get something to eat.”
Because we are geeked about all of the love Saadiq has been receiving as of late (it’s oh so overdue), we wanted to share a few of our favorite songs written (co-written in some cases) by the talented musician. In no particular order, of course.
“Ask of You”
“Ask of You” is still Saadiq’s biggest solo hit. The song from the Higher Learning soundtrack deserves to be in heavy rotation on any true R&B fan’s slow jam playlist.
“Untitled (How Does It Feel)”
If we didn’t have this song, co-written and co-produced by Saadiq, we wouldn’t have this classic video. What a travesty that would be to the eyes of ladies everywhere.
A timeless smooth jam. You don’t get to see Saadiq in the video for “Kissing You,” but you can hear him all over the track both on guitar and vocals.
The artist has put out a few solo albums over the last few years, and The Way I See It is one of his best. A standout from it is “Oh Girl,” which even received a verse from Jay Z for the remix.
“Cranes in the Sky”
There are so many brilliant tracks on the A Seat at the Table album that deserve to be on repeat, but the one currently on radio and stuck in my head these days is “Cranes in the Sky.” Aside from co-writing and co-producing it, that bass line is classic Raphael Saadiq.
Another deep cut from Saadiq’s solo work, “Rifle Love” off of the Ray Ray album gives me stepper’s vibes. There’s also a “gunless” version for those who aren’t fond of hearing a shotgun blast in a song. Still, it’s a pretty amazing track either way.
“Love of My Life”
The track from the Brown Sugar soundtrack was not only a massive hit (it won a Grammy in 2003), but it was just a damn good song. And anything with a Common verse also gets a thumbs up in our book.
They collaborated quite a few times on some classic songs, but this was the first time D’Angelo actually appeared on a Raphael Saadiq track. “Be Here” was both clever (“I got more than just a big d-ck and some money”) and quite the groove.
Another heavenly collaboration, Raphael Saadiq and Q-Tip teamed up for “Get Involved.” And while the song didn’t make major waves, it’s a beautiful track with a great message.
The song is D’Angelo’s hit, but he co-wrote and co-produced the song with Saadiq, who can be seen playing bass in the video. When these two get together on a track, it’s sure to be classic music to our ears.
“Lay Your Head on My Pillow”
Tony! Toni! Toné! had plenty of hits, but Saadiq didn’t have writing credits for some of the most popular ones. However, he’s a writer for one of the group’s smoothest jams: “Lay Your Head on My Pillow.” To this day, the cutie pies all know, they can always l-a-y on somebody’s pillow.