Raheem DeVaughn, The Love Experience

Critics have been comparing Raheem DeVaughn to Marvin Gaye, Prince, and Curtis Mayfield. While those above mentioned influences are clearly accurate, to simply pass this Maryland native off as an imitator would short-change DeVaughn's beautifully produced debut, The Love Experience. Experience starts off with the slow burning title track, which features DeVaughn's airy vocals and tight funk grooves; the album then leads into the dreamy first single "Guess Who Loves You More." Other highlights include the sexually charged "Breathe," the club-party anthem "Sweet Tooth," and the social-political issues laid out in "Who," "Until," and "Green Leaves." Jive Records shows a great deal of faith in their young crooner as Experience clocks in at over 70 minutes long (generally unheard of for new artists), but instead of ending up predictable and boring, DeVaughn and his production team lull the listener with sweetly-layered vocals, lush melodies and a passionate fusion of R&B-soul, hip hop, and rock-pop. DeVaughn's Love Experience is an impressive debut by a young talent that has nowhere to go but up. (Jive)  Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Stars

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