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Raheem DeVaughn Has Double the Soul on ‘MasterPeace’

A double-CD release in the hip-hop and R&B world demands a lot of attention from contemporary listeners known for their short attention spans, but Raheem DeVaughn, one of modern soul’s coolest cats, isn’t too concerned about the repercussions. This month, the Newark, New Jersey native released two versions of his third album, ‘The Love & War MasterPeace:’ a single-disc edition packed with romance-inspired tracks and a deluxe package including an additional album filled with edgier, more politically-minded material. DeVaughn has nary a worry that his fans won’t be able to digest the whole opus.

“I have a unique following and fan bases, a cult following. So I think that they want the full experience,” he tells The BoomBox of his newest album. “I’m about giving people an alternative, that’s why there are two different versions of the album.”

The project came to fruition after DeVaughn wrapped up the sessions for his critically acclaimed 2008 sophomore album ‘Love Behind the Melody.’ Feeling inspired, DeVaughn convinced the gatekeepers at his label Jive Records to pony up the funds to give him access to their studio for four days, during which he laid down the majority of the political fare on ‘The Love & War MasterPeace.’ After cutting 10 to 15 records, the album began to grow beyond his initial intentions, turning into a double-disc affair when he made room for more romantically wrought tunes. “My last album could have easily been a double-CD,” he explains of his previous release. “We felt like it would have been a premature move to do that at the time — still building a fan base, people not knowing about who Raheem DeVaughn is.”

DeVaughn’s patience paid off. Not only is the double-disc album injected with DeVaughn’s signature love songs and more socially conscious records, but it also hosts one of his most ambitious tracks to date. ‘Nobody Wins a War’ is an almost 8-minute epic jam that features a dream team of contemporary R&B singers including Jill Scott, Bilal, Anthony Hamilton, Algebra, Chrisette Michele, Shelby Johnson, Ledisi, Citizen Cope, Dwele, Chico DeBarge and Rudy Currence. Like in making his third offering a double-disc, compiling the track was an equally bold endeavor that grew from a demo he originally intended as a solo song to the sprawling anthem that made the album’s final cut.

“I always wanted to have a record that was reminiscent of a ‘We Are the World‘,” he says. “But it had to be something that had a message because I knew it was going to be a challenge to get not only one person on the record, but multiple people. It was a huge challenge, and I just started reaching out to people and I was very aggressive at times. These are the people who reached back out in a timely fashion and went to bat for me, and ultimately heard the song, the message and the purpose of it that it needed to serve.”

Check out ‘The Love & War MasterPeace’ stand-out after the jump.

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