Raheem DeVaughn sprung onto the mainstream scene practically out of nowhere. Though he had a history independently, I’d never heard of him, until one Spring morning, I was passed on a well illustrated Jive sampler CD which prompted me to examine the music further. Pleasantly surprised, I was taken aback by what I heard.
"Guess Who Loves You More" allowed the world to become curious as to who Mr. DeVaughn was. The tale told was from the perspective of a man who felt more for a recently single female, than he believed her ex did. The song showcased a myriad of pitches, quietly opening up a glimpse towards Raheem's talent.
Having told MVRemix that some of the album's best tracks were solely written from a creative perspective and weren't strong on experience, DeVaughn exhibits empathetic talents beyond the majority of what we hear today.
The production on the album is exceptional, seemingly at its best when Pete Kuzma collaborates with Raheem. "Where I Stand" has Raheem exploring whether he and a potential suitor would be best as friends or whether something more would work. The grand feel Kuzma provided allows the feeling of Raheem's voice and words to propel. "Breathe" which immediately follows is in the same grand vein, but more sensual. The slow ballad exudes heartfelt feeling. "Believe" is another touching moment, in which the simple musical backdrop and high pitch that Raheem sings take you deeply into the song.
There are moments which draw away from the flow, and although great tracks, they may have been better suited on another release. "Sweet Tooth" and "Cadillac" both feature tones contrary to what "The Love Experience" typically puts forth, with that said though, they are great tracks which stand alone. Another gem, "Until" features a tweaked version of the beat most recognized from Ice Cube's "It Was A Good Day" utilizing the famous sample from the Isley's "Footsteps In The Dark."
“The Love Experience” proves that Raheem DeVaughn is superbly talented and diverse. His performances are extremely consistent and compelling, not to mention passionate. "The Love Experience" leaves listeners serene and touched, unquestionably an asset to contemporary soul/r&b collections.