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Raphael Saadiq Discusses His New Video Game Company

Collin Erie, AOL

Grammy-winning singer Raphael Saadiq may be best known for his smooth voice and soulful production, but in 2010, the multi-talented crooner stepped into a totally different realm with the launch of his video game company, Illfonic.

The independently-funded developer and publisher, which Saadiq founded with Chuck Brungardt — the engineer who mixed his last two ’60s soul-rock albums, ‘The Way I See It’ and his recent masterpiece ‘Stone Rollin” — currently has two games in development: Ghetto Golf, which they unveiled at the Game Developers Conference in 2009, and shooter game Nexuiz.

“He went to school to develop games, he’s a programmer,” Saadiq tells the BoomBox, of the transformation from mixing an album with Burngardt, to founding a video game company with him. “We all play video games all the time, and a friend of mine works for Russell Simmons and she works on a video game and she was coming to town to do voice overs for Snoop and I told her I wanted to be in the game, but just playing. She said, ‘Well, we don’t let R&B singers in the game.’ And I was like, ‘Well, I’m going to make my own game and I’m going to call it ‘Ghetto Golf.” I was just joking and laughing with her, but when she left, Chuck [said], ‘Hey, you serious? You really want to do that?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, we should,’ and he [said], ‘You know I went to school for that.”

Saadiq went on to say that he enjoys the anonymity he feels in the video game industry, in comparison to the music game, which he’s been a major player in for two decades.

“Since then we’ve been talking about downloadable games, and we’ve been in every video game convention for the last five years,” Saadiq explains. “It’s kind of fun because I’ll walk in and see nobody from my industry there. Nobody. I walk around looking for people and there’s nobody in there. It’s kind of funny. I don’t talk about it much, because in the gamer world, you don’t want people to think it’s about music or it’s about a guy who has a game company because it’s more about the gamers. It has nothing to do with the music.”

While the ‘Good Man’ singer may not have a background in gaming, he was able to supply his own particular talents to the shooting game his company is developing — but don’t expect a smooth soul soundtrack.

“I did a lot of the music in the game Nexuiz, but it’s not anything like me,” he revealed. “It’s all digital, it’s all electronic.”

Raphael Saadiq’s fourth studio album, ‘Stone Rollin’,’ is in stores now.

Watch Raphael Saadiq Performs ‘Stone Rollin” in Our Studios
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Watch Raphael Saadiq’s Full Performance

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