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The Underrated: Jaheim (@OfficialJaheim)


By @SpeedontheBeat





What, you thought that I was sitting out DAR R&B Week? Now, now, you should know better than that. But, enough ego-stroking. This isn't about me. Today, I want to talk Jaheim, an artist who's been known for keeping it (at times too) real for listeners. I mean, this is a guy who has a song, on his first album named "Lil Nigga Ain't Mine" about someone claiming Jaheim as the father, even though the "kid looks just like Ginuwine" and whatnot. This is a song that, I'll be honest, is kind of comedic. He also dropped "Pussy Appreciation Day" where he drops somewhat eye-raising lyrics such as "and then I tasted it, amazing like Krispy Kream glazed it." This is also a pretty comedic song.

But...when Jaheim isn't going overboard with the realness, he's a smooth artist who's Teddy Pendergrass-like vocals came at the right time, to a degree. 

When Jaheim first dropped, it was around the time of artists such as Anthony Hamilton, Lyfe Jennings, and so on. In other words, it wasn't about whether or not the artist was a singer/dancer/rapper (not that there's anything wrong with that; The Weeknd is one of those artists, sort of, and August Alsina is as well. Both of those artists are two of my favorite new-school R&B/soul/alt-R&B artists) and more about whether the artist could flat-out sing his or her ass off. He came out as an artist who was real enough to admit faults, like Donell and Anthony and 'em, but also unpolished enough to still make them. This led to Jaheim making classic tracks with Jadakiss and D-Block (such as "Diamond in da Ruff"), and tracks such as "Anything," "Fabulous," and "Put that Woman First."

However, it seems that, after his second album, even after he's cranked out classic songs, the albums after Still Ghetto didn't catch on as much. Yes, Ghetto Classics and The Makings of a Man went gold and "Finding My Way Back" was nominated for a Grammy. But, other than that? He, for some, became a relic of a forgotten era. This is what I mean by "to a degree." Had he dropped a few years earlier or later, I feel that fans would've been even more receptive of his music. But, he came in that perfect storm of a musical era where he, while original, had a lot of competition for attention.

And when he came out with songs like "Pussy Appreciation Day," some people brushed them off as an oldhead trying to be relevant (but not in that Charile Wilson kind of way, more like that Temptations-using-Auto-Tune sort of way). But, if you get past the awkwardness of songs like that, Jaheim has still cranked out some pretty solid stuff. 

So, go forth and listen to the man. Make him less underrated. And, yes, I'm aware of the insanity that comes with calling a man who's sold over five million CDs underrated. But he truly is.

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