The incredible Raheem DeVaughn aka The Love King.. Okay, let’s get the formalities out the way….
Raheem DeVaughn is an American singer and songwriter. DeVaughn was born in Newark, New Jersey on May 5, 1975, the son of jazz cellist Abdul Wadud. He was raised in Maryland (Montgomery and Prince George’s counties) by his mother, Imani Smith, a now retired federal worker. He is a cousin of singer Chrisette Michele. His mother states that her son first expressed an affinity towards music in pre-school, recalling how whenever the class had musical events, he would conduct them. DeVaughn’s love for music solidified during his early teens, when he began to envision his career path. One of his favorite artists was Babyface, and Smith recalls that her son once begged her to visit the Waxie Maxie’s record store in the District to buy a promotional picture of the singer. DeVaughn visited his father during the summer, mainly in New Jersey. With his father, DeVaughn attended gigs and experienced his first taste of the life of a working musician.
He graduated from High Point High School in Beltsville, Maryland, an unincorporated section of Prince George’s County. DeVaughn had an epiphany early in his college career at Coppin State University in Baltimore City, when he saw a group of street corner singers and began harmonizing with them. DeVaughn said his focus became music: “Before I knew what was going on, I was… cutting class to write lyrics and record”. His focus turned to becoming a professional singer.
DeVaughn’s first solo single released on a major label was the song entitled “Guess Who Loves You More”, his second single was “You”. DeVaughn’s first Jive Records release The Love Experience, was acclaimed, selling around 250,000 units. While promoting the album, DeVaughn took to wearing a crown and cape at shows, a ploy to make himself stand out, calling himself the “Underground King.” Around this time, DeVaughn also began making appearances at different shows in D.C. with artists such as W. Ellington Felton and Asheru of Unspoken Heard, hiding his face behind a hooded sweatshirt performing under the alias Chronkite. Felton comments that that alter ego was engendered for complicated reasons: “Chronkite represents that part of every artist who started what they’re doing singing in front of a mirror as a child with a brush in their hand. At that time, it was based love, the initial attraction that draws you to music. In his business, unfortunately, your passion, your love, your individuality as an artist, can be stripped away the further you get into it.”
What Raheem has done over the past decade is carve out a lane for himself as one of this generation’s most beloved voices. The Maryland resident’s catalog of sultry melodies and passionate bedroom anthems have earned him a loyal fan base as well as a host of industry accolades, including three Grammy nominations. Originally signed to Jive Records, Raheem’s first three albums—The Love Experience (2005), Love Behind the Melody (2008) and The Love & War MasterPeace (2010)—resulted in chart-topping singles like “You,” “Customer” and the female-empowerment anthem “Woman.” Stepping out as an independent artist for his 2013 release, A Place Called Love Land, Raheem remained consistent in his artistry and the same holds true with Love, Sex & Passion.
As the title suggests, the album is centered on the emotional and physical chemistry that happens between a man and woman. The brutally honest “All I Know” reveals the male perspective on being a sidepiece, while the bluesy “When You Love Someone” is classic Raheem, as the crooner skilfully captures the complicated nuances of romance. He even breaks from the norm and begs on record for the first time with the impassioned “Baby Come Back” before pushing the envelope on his vulnerability even further on the confessional “I Miss Your Sex.” Raheem is known for his anthems and doesn’t disappoint here. “Black Ice Cream” is his ode to ebony skin that’s sure to pique the interest of the beautiful, radiant, dark-skinned women of the world. Then of course there’s the lead single, “Queen,” which praises the strength and power of what it means to be a woman.
Raheem DeVaughn has made a career out of tapping into people’s emotions by creating personal soundtracks to our love lives. For his fifth studio album, Love, Sex & Passion, the singer/songwriter wants to take listeners back to the future. “This album has a very ’90s throwback feel to it but with a futuristic 2020 spin on it,” Raheem says of his new opus. “It’s a little edgy and before its time in places. But this album will probably go down in history as my most sophisticated, erotic bedroom joint. I didn’t focus on what anybody else was doing versus what I just wanted to do.”