Dusting Off... Raphael Saadiq's The Way I See It
What is it?
Released in 2008, The Way I See It is the third solo album by American singer, songwriter and producer Raphael Saadiq. Born Charles Ray Wiggins in Oakland, California, Saadiq first came to prominence in the late 1980s as a member of R&B group Tony! Toni! Toné, releasing four albums between 1988 and 1997. He was then an occasional member of the production collective The Ummah - which included the likes of J Dilla and Q-Tip - and R&B supergroup Lucy Pearl, before releasing his solo debut, Instant Vintage, in 2002.
Saadiq's solo output is often described as 'old-school R&B' or 'Motown revivalist', and there's some truth in both those descriptions, particularly on The Way I See It, which includes a guest appearance from Motown legend Stevie Wonder on the superb 'Never Give You Up', one of the album's highlights. The album's sound tips a hat to the production style of the Motor City's golden era, but there's variety too, with a handful of other guests including Jay Z and Joss Stone, among others.
Other standout moments include the shuffling swing of opener 'Sure Hope You Mean It', the stomping Motown groove of 'Staying In Love' and the downright infectious '100 Yard Dash', but there are so many great moments on the album that you could pretty much shut your eyes, run your finger down the track list and still land on a winner.
Why should I revisit?
The sheer length and breadth of Saadiq's career has led some to describe him as 'the preeminent R&B talent of the 90s' among other things (although that's hardly the whole picture), and The Way I See It earned him three Grammy nominations, as well as nominations for a range of other accolades such as the BET Awards and the Soul Train Awards. If you're looking for the perfect antidote to homogenous American R&B, this is where you'll find it.
Who will enjoy it?
If you're a Motown fan or if you enjoy some of the more recent artists to pay homage to that sound, such as Mayer Hawthorne, then this is sure to be pleasing on the ear.