Raheem DeVaughn: A Social Lens

We already know the brother can sing, with the way he set the R&B scene on fire with his hits “Customer” and “Woman.” He is back on the scene with his latest hit “Bulletproof”, and is releasing his much anticipated double disk album ‘Love & War’ at the top of next year.

Raheem DeVaughn sits down with Singersroom and take us on a tour of himself, his insight into the government and even his thought process behind why he creates his music and the message he wants to convey to the world. You may have thought you knew, but it’s so much deeper this is the mind of Raheem Devaughn.

Singersroom:You went to the left when everybody is making club songs and inventing sex, why did you write “Bulletproof”? What was your inspiration?

Raheem Devaughn: I’m a different kind of dude…I marched to the beat of a different drum. I feel like balance is important. I have songs, even from my first album I’ve always been on some, socially conscience/love whatever music you know? I just wanted to write the soundtrack to the times: Where we are, where I am as a black man, just some things that I see…I’ve seen. Where we are as a country, where we are globally…Like music and songs, what we do, we can capture history, as artists, so that’s what I really try to do. It’s like a painting with a canvas. We capturing like a moment, that’s what my attempt to do, not only with the single but with the album. Half of the album is on a “Bulletproof” vibe, like socially conscience, touching on different issues and half of the album is “love.” So, I get a chance to get my message across and but I also get a chance to do what I’m blessed to be able to do.

Singersroom: On “A Wing and Prayer” & “Bulletproof” you discuss the social problem of your neighborhood and “God” is this the overall storyline on the album?

Raheem Devaughn: Yeah, everyone I’m not just talking about the same thing. “Bulletproof” is more like these are the problems; this is what we facing…almost like it’s a warning. Then “A Wing and a Prayer” is like okay, we know these are the problems, but I still believe in the power of prayer. Regardless of your faith or whatever your religion is, you got to believe in a higher power, of something positive and living for a will of good, living for a will of God. You can’t be afraid to talk about that in your music. I feel like that could be one of the biggest sins or one of the biggest contradictions, is not acknowledging his name and say his name. Some people don’t…we live in some strange times. There aren’t people that always feel like I feel…they going to talk about who they want to talk about, so I’m going to talk about what I want to talk about.

Singersroom: That’s true and very important that you touch on the fact that we need to pray to God. So are you very spiritual?

Raheem Devaughn: Oh, definitely. Yep! Now is definitely a time to be it. Like, people don’t pay attention and understand that it’s a spiritual war going on…like right now, we in it. So, you gotta pick your side wisely…Like people daily are picking their side, you gotta draw your line in the sand and hold your ground because that’s just where we at. It’s no time to be like sugarcoating nothing, like this is my rawest album yet. I’m going in on the “War” side and I’m going in on the “Love” side too. This is going to be yet another chapter, of some real music from a real dude.

Singersroom: “BulletProof” is fits with the times now with the announcement from President Obama to send 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan. What are your thoughts about the war?

Raheem Devaughn: Let me just say this, the record “Bulletproof” could have easily been on my last album…Most of this stuff I’m putting out now has been sitting, it’s been recorded and it’s been sitting for like two years. So, all this that’s coming out was fresh through the years. “Bulletproof” could have easily been on my last album, “Cocaine Dreams” which was on my mixtape, could have been on my last album. I pay attention to the history, where we are and what’s going on, like we just in the thick of it, we ain’t seen the worst yet. Although I love [President] Obama, I voted for Obama and all of that. Certain things just have to happen…it’s just the way it is. He only has a certain level of control. What people don’t know a lot of time or realize a lot of time, is [President] Obama has to answer to somebody too.

That’s just the bottom line. He’s in a situation that was already initiated and created; he was just like thrown into the frying pan, but the flame was already on, the grease was already there, the other ingredients were already there, you know? He has to maintain, so I pray for the brother. I try to be as supportive as I can as an American citizen you know? I’m going to do my part. At the end of the day people can knock and say what they want about him. But he has a job to do, and I can’t do his job. I’m not skilled to do his job I’m skilled to do my job, which is what I do. We got to all do like he says we got to all do our parts, so I’m doing my part musically.

Singersroom: You discuss (in your songs) how the government is “big brother” what type of programs would you like the government do?

Raheem Devaughn: (Chuckles) Wow, I don’t know. I don’t know how I feel about that one. Because I don’t feel like the government is necessarily designed to help me. I can’t really speak on that one. I would LOVE to see the school system be more developed. See the teachers be paid more. I would love to see the government contribute to employment being on the rise. I could go on and on and on with things I would love to see the government do. But at the end of the day I don’t feel like the government is necessarily designed to help me. I believe that we live in a system; we live in a world where we got to help ourselves. I’m not looking for them to help me. You know? They have a list of rules that we need to live by and I adhere to those, but I’m going to help my self.

That’s the thing that I try to instill to the youth when I go out and speak to the schools: “ain’t nobody going to give you nothing!” So, if you’re waiting for the government to help you and give you something, they’re not going to do that. It’s a system and a program that they have to run, it’s been in place since forever and it’ll continue to be in place, so you got to help yourself.

Singersroom: Has fatherhood changed what you want to create for the public?

Raheem Devaughn: Yeah, it definitely plays a factor. It’s not just fatherhood though, just me being a black man. All the stigmas we have on us anyway. And just for what we had to fight for as a people. Why pay all those dues just to set myself and my people back 20-30 years? Like speaking about women in a disrespectful manner or stuff like that, I feel like that’s the set up to be set back. That’s why I make records like “Woman” and “Black and Blue” that’s going to be on my new album, or a record like “Greatness” which is on my new album, it’s like “Woman” part 2, it’s called “The Greatness.” That’s why I make records like those in particular, to show women in another light.

Singersroom: What issue or cause are you most passionate about?

Raheem Devaughn: These days…Domestic violence, I got a song on my album called “Black and Blue” that’s quickly becoming the new domestic violence fight anthem song. I’m days away from being, from signing a contract for being the official spokesperson for the CDC (Center for Disease Control) to help bring awareness to HIV/AIDS to the country as well as other STDs. So, I’m like days away from inking that as well.

Singersroom: With you having such a versatile way of storytelling in your music. What mark do you want to leave on the music game when it’s all said and done?

Raheem Devaughn: You know that I did it my way…That I had music with a message and music with a purpose. That I made music that was timeless, and I love performing. I think those are the things I want people to understand.

—— By: Interview By Lauren M. Walker


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