As a man of many hats, he took the stage to entertain millions as part of the 1980s group Tony! Toni! Toné!, then marched forward as a solo artist earning Grammy nominations for his albums Instant Vintage and Ray Ray. Taking all this success and then adding credits as a producer and collaborator with numerous top names such as the Roots, Whitney Houston, Snoop Dogg, Earth, Wind and Fire and Mary J. Blige, it’s a wonder that Raphael Saadiq finds any time to write and produce a new record of his own. However, the man who has a knack for old school R&B and throwbacks to Motown has done just that! Raphael has just released his latest studio effort, Stone Rollin’, sending a strong, prominent wave back into the music world.

As a follow-up to 2008’s The Way I See It, his new album sets the bar high with mouthwatering music. The title stems from expressing no limits, no restrictions and putting all his creativity out there to be exposed.

“I talked my whole career about putting everything on the table. I just made [the title] up and thought to myself, ‘do your best album, your best gamble,’” says Saadiq.

The 10-track album has a range of emotions coursing through it, as well as featured artists along the way. It starts with an upbeat rock ’n’ roll feel of the 1950s that embodies Chuck Berry’s classic guitar riffs, Stevie Wonder’s soulful vocal wails and Sly and the Family Stone’s grooving jams. “Heart Attack,” “Go to Hell” and “Radio” get your heart pumping and ears locked on to their beats so that you’ll never let go. “Radio,” being the first single off Stone Rollin’, has already received attention with its funky, old-school music video pays that homage to the times when the radio was celebrated. But the song itself has a different meaning, as Saadiq explains.

“Radio plays the victim. It needs something it used to know. The radio needs music. The radio comes back to people [in the song] attacking and saying ‘please give me music.’”

A unique and truthful spin, the song is composed of catchy surf licks, doo-wop vocals and poppy drums, updated to give a modern sound to old R&B.

As listeners dive deeper into Stone Rollin’, other songs reveal a tribute to different ideas and experiences in Saadiq’s life. The title track was written in respect to big, beautiful, full-figured women and has a bluesy beat to go along with it.

“A childhood friend inspired ‘Stone Rollin’ a little. We’d be walking down the street, and we’d see a woman walk by and he’d say, ‘Doesn’t it seem like she’s walking to a bluesy soundin’ song.'"

Taking that note from his childhood, he turned it into inspiration. Another song, entitled “The Answer” speaks to both adults and children with truthful lyrics having the sole intent for both to watch how they handle their lives and make sure mistakes aren’t repeated.  

With influences ranging from the early sound of R&B to the indie music found on his mp3 player, Saadiq pulled from all angles around and within himself to create this record.

“I feel like it’s an extension of my last record, not necessarily better than or separate. We’re growing together [his music and he]. I’m at a different point in my life on each record, next I’ll have something new. It’s not a magic trick.”



Stone Rollin’ is currently available. For more information, visit raphaelsaadiq.com.