MAN, I WANNA BE LIKE RAHEEM DeVAUGHN SO DAMN BAD!

Recently, I was driving down the street one day, and I realized something: If there is one person whose life I wish to have, one person who inspires me to the point where I wish I could be that person, it isn’t some athlete or important public figure or friggin’ superhero. That one person is Raheem DeVaughn.

Who is Raheem DeVaughn, you ask? First off, how dare you not know who Raheem DeVaughn is! Where the hell you been? Secondly, Raheem DeVaughn is a Grammy-nominated R & B artist who has been turning out consistent, stellar work for the past 13 years. Even as I write this, I’m listening to “Guess Who Loves You More,” the Earth, Wind & Fire-sampling single that put him on the map back in 2005.

Real talk: I wanna be that dude so gotdamn bad. I should preface this by saying this isn’t a gay thing or a stalker thing. I’m a big admirer of R & B music. That’s always been my go-to genre ever since I was a kid. I’ve also been a huge fan of male R & B singers who can turn out songs full of sexy, seductive grooves. You have no idea how much I spent most of my teen years listening to old-school tunes by the likes of Marvin Gaye, Al Green and the Isley Brothers, wishing I could drop soulful ditties like they did so effortlessly.

Throughout the years, I’ve written about contemporary soul singers who’ve obviously been influenced by those aforementioned crooners, guys like Bilal, Dwele, Musiq Soulchild and Eric Roberson (who also hails from DeVaughn’s home state of New Jersey) — men I’ve all interviewed about their music. And while I’m fans of all these guys, DeVaughn is the one whose music I always come back to.

Why? Because his music is just so damn sensual. On nearly every song he does, DeVaughn uses that falsetto voice of his to make female listeners quiver with desire — and make male listeners wish they could make those listeners quiver with desire. On nearly every song he does, DeVaughn sings like a man who’s gonna lose his gotdamn mind if he doesn’t get some lady in his boudoir tonight for some sexy time. On his latest, recently-released album, Decade of a Love King (all of his releases have “love” in the title), there’s a track called “Reverse” — which includes sound effects from ex-porn star Roxy Reynolds — and to say he lays on the erotic charm would be an understatement:

Put it in reverse

Get on your knees, arch your back, throw it back, pay for that

Put it in reverse

Let the heavens open up and put it in

Your angelic nastiness will put it in

Put it in reverse

Feel me inside you

Put it in reverse

Let the heavens open up and put it in

Your angelic nastiness will put it in

And that’s just the chorus! I could literally pick out a dozen songs where he excels at this. (In fact, I’ll do that after writing this and drop an Apple Music playlist.)

As enjoyable as DeVaughn’s music is, dude can make you feel insecure on occasion for failing to achieve the kind of passion in your personal life he sings about. (I actually addressed this when I finally interviewed him a few years ago.) I mean, I’m a writer. I can’t make a woman all tingly with a gotdamn blog post or movie review! You know how many women I’ve hooked up with because of my writing abilities? That’s right — zero, zilch, not a gotdamn one! But I’m sure if you make music like DeVaughn or just have any musical talents, you have plenty of stories of tell. How do I know this? Because I heard several of them from different musicians I’ve interviewed throughout the years. Unfortunately, despite the fact I can carry a tune vocally from time to time, I’m am not gifted in the musical arts. Although I have hinted to artists I know that I’m available if you need someone to sing a hook, I have not appeared on anyone’s mixtape as of yet. Ah well — I guess I’ll just stick to what I’m good at, as unsexy as hell as that may be.

Speaking of mixtapes, DeVaughn has dropped several, in-between the studio albums he’s done, that are actually just as good as his full albums. (My favorite one is Destination: Loveland — Snoop Dogg is the host!) On many of them, he’s been known to get more explicit than he does on his commercial work. But, most of all, they show that the man never stops churning out compositions. As an artist who has had to bounce from one label to another for whatever reason, that hasn’t halted him from finding ways to deliver new music to fans. You gotta respect the man’s work ethic.

Above all else, I admire Raheem DeVaughn because, quite simply, the man is smooth as fuck! Whether it’s through his music or his concerts or his damn Instagram page, the man has swag coming out of his ears. Even when he’s crooning about socially-conscious issues (as he does when he teams up with D.C. singer/poet/rapper W. Ellington Felton and makes music as The Crossrhodes), DeVaughn does it with such slicked-out, R-rated cool — and the muhfucka’s only a year older than me! Gotdamn smooth-ass sonofabitch!

I’ll just wrap this up by saying if you aren’t aware of Raheem DeVaughn and his music, perhaps now would be a good time to start, especially if you’ve got a special someone and you want to make things more passionate and moist in the bedroom. And, for those of y’all who thought it was weird reading me just straight-up waxing the car of this one guy, is it wrong for a Black man to show love and appreciation for another Black man? I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing more brothas getting props for the work they’ve done that has inspired and influenced others. To borrow an album title from the Love King himself, that would truly be a love experience.