Raheem DeVaughn The Love & War MasterPeace

Raheem DeVaughn The Love & War MasterPeace
With his third album, DC crooner Raheem DeVaughn has finally recorded a full-length worthy of his influences. The Love & War MasterPeace tackles the dualities of its title with acute sensitivity and great songwriting; it's a testament to DeVaughn's talent that the ballads are as strong as the polemics. First single "Bulletproof" is a fine example of the latter; it's a wrenching lament from the inner city built upon a Curtis Mayfield sample. "Black And Blue" tackles domestic violence with extraordinary warmth and compassion, while "Fragile" is a gorgeously swaying slow jam backed by gentle horns. If the album's middle dips too deeply into "lover man" clichés, the highlights more than compensate. DeVaughn dissects armed battle on "Nobody Wins A War," backed by an all-star line-up of neo-soul singers, while "Revelations 2010," with Damian Marley, brilliantly interpolates Mobb Deep and Jay-Z to comment on the social ills of the late '00s. MasterPeace is a modern classic of social protest R&B, the logical continuation of the socially conscious work of Curtis, Marvin and Stevie. Highly recommended. (Jive/Zomba)