Producer and singer-songwriter Raphael Saadiq is nothing if not ambitious. For his second solo studio album, the former Tony! Toni! Toné! front man attempts to expand the gospeldelic sound he introduced on 2002's retro-soul and gospel-fused Instant Vintage, all the while imagining Raphael Saadiq as Ray Ray as the soundtrack to a '70s blaxploitation flick. Inspired by the Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier classic Uptown Saturday Night, the cover even features a pimped-out Saadiq sporting Super Fly attire, leaning against a white Caddy. The good news is that the Oakland native (né Charlie Ray Wiggins), has all the right influences to pull off a funk-and-soul-drenched '70s send-up: He is well versed in the socially conscious funk of Sly Stone and Curtis Mayfield and the seductive grooves of the Isley Brothers. The bad news is that the album doesn't quite deliver on its cinematic promise, and at times Saadiq's whiny delivery grows tiresome. The end result is less a thematically cohesive album and more a disconnected collection of mid-tempo love songs. That said, the standouts are many, including the plaintive "Grown Folks" and the meditative closing track, "Save Us." And longtime fans will swoon at the inclusion of the campy "Rifle Love," which reunites Saadiq with brother and fellow Tony Dwayne Wiggins and original Lucy Pearl siren Dawn Robinson. Although the disc fails to deliver on its grandiose premise, Raphael Saadiq as Ray Ray is a lighthearted soul record perfect for casual listening.
Performance CreditsRaphael Saadiq Primary Artist,Bass,Guitar,Drums,Keyboards,Vocals,Various
Joi Vocals,Track Performer
Tony! Toni! Toné! Vocals
D'Wayne Wiggins Vocals
Benjamin F. Wright Conductor
Dawn Robinson Vocals
Kelvin Wooten Bass,Guitar,Keyboards
Michael Angelo Bass,Guitar,Keyboards
Lucy Pearl Vocals,Track Performer
Jake & the Phatman Organ,Guitar,Percussion,Drums,Keyboards
Morgan Zarate Drums
Sundra "Sun" Manning Keyboards
Teedra Moses Vocals
Allie Baba Vocals,Rap
Torrey Devitto Violin
Lawrence "Master Poe" Lejohn Vocals
Benjamin Wright Orchestra Strings
Technical CreditsJoi Composer
Michael Angelo Saulsberry Composer
Benjamin F. Wright Arranger
Raphael Saadiq Composer,Programming,Producer,Executive Producer,Horn Arrangements,Audio Production,Flute Arrangement
Kelvin Wooten Composer,Producer,String Arrangements,drum programming,Audio Production
Daniel Romero Engineer
Michael Angelo Composer,Horn Arrangements,drum programming,Audio Production
Jake & the Phatman Producer,Horn Arrangements,drum programming,Flute Arrangement
John Tanksley Engineer
Will Ragland Art Direction
Teedra Moses Composer
Glenn Standridge Composer
James Tanksley Engineer
Bobby Ozuna Composer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This album does not compare to Instant Vintage, but it does resemble the days of Toni Toni Toni! Works well in the car on long trips. The beats are tight, while the lyrics are ok. One of the better R&B albums overall, compared to what is out there.
I'm so disappointed in this cd. The beats are wack, the lyrics are elementary, and who the hell said it would be a good idea to have gunshots on an R&B song? This is a bootlegger's dream...but then they may not even be able to sell this terrible cd. Out of fourteen songs, the only good one was "I want you back". Ugh.
I am a long time appreciator of Raphael Saadiq music from the day with TTT. I really enjoyed their music and Raphael’s solo projects along the way. I connected with his “Instant Vintage” from the first note and it continues to by in my player. I really enjoyed “All the Hits.” This live set is Kickin as a tribute to the past and an expansion on “Instant Vintage.” I anxiously awaited this new release. I popped this disc in expecting it to pick up where “Instant Vintage” left off. It didn’t. It’s a whole new groove. At first listen I was not feeling it. As I put my expectation aside and listened, I started getting into the flow. I began to hear the old and new blended together. I could hear the Sly, Parliament, and Prince influences as I am an old Funkateer. So put your expectations aside and go along for the ride. If you are like me you will start wondering why the grooves are not longer. The bass line in “Chic” is crazy funky. Catch the beat on “This One.” And he tags a groove on the end of the song “Live Without You” leave you want more. The more I listen the more it reveals.
This disc is evenly outstanding from beginning to end. In my opinion, the album is at it's best from track 7 (Detroit Girl) to 14 (Save Us). Thats not to say the songs before that are bad, they're good too. It's my personal opion as to when the album begins to kick into oerdrive. (On my drive from Virginia to NY, "Detroit Girl" was the first song I pressed rewind on) It's a great display of talent with all the live instrumentation. Saadiq kills the bass on "I Want You Back" with Teedra Moses (what a voice) and "I Love Her". The bass guitar with the subtle guitar licks and layed vocals show the skill in the studio to make these songs. Lyrically, Raphael Saadiq is as always a sensitive mofo. But that's a good thing (everybody needs love). The album is definitely for the grown and sexy and I recommend it 1000%.
I always thought that Raphael Saqqdiq has always been talented in his days with tony toni tone, and as a solo artist. I think this album is a gem to what seems to be a outstanding catelog in his career. It's lad back, it's fun, it's mellow. It's something that should have been released in the summer then the laste fall, but no matter, it's just good to hear some "REAL" R&B music instead of what's playing on the radio half the time.
This album is not like Instant Vintage. It has much more of a Hip Hop influence. Most of the tracks sound like Saadiq made a sick beat and just starting grooving on it. This album is dope. Perfect driving music. The lyrics leave a lot to be desired but the music amazing. Just sit back and ride.
As usual Rapheal Saadiq pulls it off again with his musical prowess and style.I loved his cool,funky California "take" on his beautifully sung funky vocals. I have always been a fan of his music and have been opened to his generous musical stylings. "Ray Ray" has definetly achieved what Raphael set out to do--which is Play that Funky Soul music! I loved Chic like you and the song he does with Babyface (track 8) and Rifle Love. The whole Cd is good!