From the original ISPYSOUL feature segment, IN FOCUS, 2003
RAPHAEL SAADIQ DO YOU REALLY KNOW
Depending upon with whom you speak, the name RAPHAEL SAADIQ will elicit various responses. The lion’s share of folks will no doubt place him as the thin-framed, lead voice of the ultra-funky, soul trio, TONY, TONI, TONÉ that garnered much love and success from the late 80’s through the 90’s. From Oakland, CA, Saadiq (né, Wiggins) along with brother, Dwayne and cousin, Timothy Christian, made an impact on the R&B scene with an organic, live sound that meshed their love and reverence for vintage funk and soul as well as gospel with a current day gleam, churning out top-ten hits like “Little Walter”, “The Blues”, “It Never Rains (In Southern California)” and “Anniversary” to name only a few.
Others will site their connection to Saadiq as brainchild and member of the group, LUCY PEARL, that featured EN VOGUE alum, vocalist Dawn Robinson and Ali Shaheed Muhammad from standout hip-hop clique, A TRIBE CALLED QUEST. Their brief, but successful union spawned the Grammy® nominated hit, “Dance Tonight.” And still others will be familiar with his string of soundtrack efforts like the hit, “Get Involved” featuring rap luminary, Q-tip, from the PJ’s, “Ask of You” from Higher Learning or “Just Me and You” from the iconic film Boyz In The Hood. But perhaps only the more savvy music mavens will realize the enormity of Saadiq’s work as writer and producer – An impressive string of hits that have filled Billboard charts and grabbed a host of awards, but have flowed from the lips and tracks of others. Tracks from artists like D’Angelo (“Untitled”, “Lady”), Erykah Badu (“Love Of My Life” featuring Common), Angie Stone (“Brotha”), Bilal (“Soul Sista”), Calvin Richardson (“She’s Got The Love”), Macy Gray, Whitney Houston, Kelly Price, The Roots, the Isley Brothers and so many, many more. The irony in all of this is that not until the 2002 release of his debut (that’s right, debut), INSTANT VINTAGE, could Saadiq truly be recognized by the masses as a solo artist.