13 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Producer, bassist, and Tony! Toni! Toné! cofounder Raphael Saadiq steps away from classic soul (2008’s The Way I See It and 2011’s Stone Rollin’) to tell a tragic personal story. Jimmy Lee refers to his older brother, who was addicted to heroin and died of an overdose in the ’90s. Saadiq draws on the struggles he witnessed and experienced to create the most personal album of his career. “It’s about my brother, it’s about me growing up to be a man versus a boy, and the vulnerabilities and frailties we have in life,” he tells Apple Music’s Ebro.

Given the fragile subject matter, the songs on Jimmy Lee are dark, leaning on supple soul and gospel as both vessel and confessional. Perspectives move from an addict’s (“Sinners Prayer,” “So Ready,” “Kings Fall”) to those caught in the addict’s crossfire (“This World Is Drunk”). A burst of clarity emerges on “I’m Feeling Love” (“You are my rehab/The only needle that I have/Injections every day/Vein to vein, I’m here to stay”) before returning back to fatal urges. The aftermath begins with “Belongs to God,” a church spiritual that mysteriously ends and opens into the ominous self-examination “Glory to the Veins.” “Rikers Island” is split in two parts: one a gospel-delic protest against the physical and psychological incarceration of African Americans, the second a pleading spoken-word piece voiced by actor Daniel J. Watts. Then an uncredited Kendrick Lamar steps up for the chorus on the album closer, “Rearview” (“How can I lead the world when I’m scared to try/Why should I need the world, we all gon’ die,” he posits). Jimmy Lee is a chilling lamentation. Like Sly Stone and Marvin Gaye, Saadiq uses soul music as a transformative tool, embracing darkness in order to shed light.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Producer, bassist, and Tony! Toni! Toné! cofounder Raphael Saadiq steps away from classic soul (2008’s The Way I See It and 2011’s Stone Rollin’) to tell a tragic personal story. Jimmy Lee refers to his older brother, who was addicted to heroin and died of an overdose in the ’90s. Saadiq draws on the struggles he witnessed and experienced to create the most personal album of his career. “It’s about my brother, it’s about me growing up to be a man versus a boy, and the vulnerabilities and frailties we have in life,” he tells Apple Music’s Ebro.

Given the fragile subject matter, the songs on Jimmy Lee are dark, leaning on supple soul and gospel as both vessel and confessional. Perspectives move from an addict’s (“Sinners Prayer,” “So Ready,” “Kings Fall”) to those caught in the addict’s crossfire (“This World Is Drunk”). A burst of clarity emerges on “I’m Feeling Love” (“You are my rehab/The only needle that I have/Injections every day/Vein to vein, I’m here to stay”) before returning back to fatal urges. The aftermath begins with “Belongs to God,” a church spiritual that mysteriously ends and opens into the ominous self-examination “Glory to the Veins.” “Rikers Island” is split in two parts: one a gospel-delic protest against the physical and psychological incarceration of African Americans, the second a pleading spoken-word piece voiced by actor Daniel J. Watts. Then an uncredited Kendrick Lamar steps up for the chorus on the album closer, “Rearview” (“How can I lead the world when I’m scared to try/Why should I need the world, we all gon’ die,” he posits). Jimmy Lee is a chilling lamentation. Like Sly Stone and Marvin Gaye, Saadiq uses soul music as a transformative tool, embracing darkness in order to shed light.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics.
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Ratings and Reviews

4.5 out of 5
52 Ratings

52 Ratings

BrothasKeepa ,

Raphael Right On Time

“Saadiq Alway Satisfies”, would’ve been my other choice of title! They both say it all!!! This man, along with his brothers and group Tony Toni Tone, have never sold out! Since the beginning, its always been real music and real R&B and real artistry. We have it again! A fan from the beginning and a fan now! I can not wait for the album! This is definitely what my starving ears have been needing!

Jlam1023 ,

Been gone toooo long!

One of the best true musicians & producers. The music industry is not putting out stuff like this man can. Pre Ordered my copy!

MyKeyC ,

Looking forward to this!

"So Ready" for this to come out. I saw the live show in Boston several months ago.. it was ridiculous!!! He played the track "So Ready" live .. it was the jam of the night - can't wait to hear the recorded version

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