10 Questions for Raheem DeVaughn

Sexual healer Raheem DeVaughn has been wooing the female persuasion for years, validating them and making them feel extra special. The R&B loverman isn’t one-dimensional though. He’s a socially-conscious altruist, ready to put his stamp on the world with his third album, The Love & War MasterPeace, available now.

Besides tender sentiments, Raheem touches on global media and politics, teams up with Ludacris on “Bulletproof,” gets a hand from Ne-Yo on “I Don’t Care,” and showcases a soul fest with Jill Scott, Chrisette Michele, Chico DeBarge, and Anthony Hamilton on “Nobody Wins a War.”

Hot on the heels of his mixtape Mr. February aka March Madness, Radio Rah reveals his famous relative, how his kids respond to bad music, and whether or not he’d give up his craft to be ballin’ like Donald Trump.

1. You call yourself the “R&B Hippie Neo-Soul Rockstar.” Who are your rock influences?
Jimi Hendrix, Bootsy Collins, the Beatles, as far as songwriting, production. Basically everything I do whether it’s rock ‘n’ roll or R&B, it’s going to be soulful. The “Hippie” is like the love movement. “Make love, not war,” that’s my message, minus the drugs. I think every album defines each tag. That’s how I define myself.

2. What is the most fulfilling thing that you have done outside of music?
I’ve been on this whole philanthropy kick. This past Christmas we fed and gave gifts to 500 families. This past Thanksgiving, I got affiliated with Donnie Simpson and Justine Love from [Washington D.C.’s WPGC] 95.5, and fed 5,000 families at the convention center. There’s [also] a record on my album called “Black & Blue” [that is being used for] an organization that deals with violence, so I’m excited that they used this record. It’s more fulfilling to see that I can use my music as a vessel to make an impact.

3. Finish this sentence: “I wouldn’t be where I am today if…”
I didn’t hustle. If I didn’t sell my own music, get on the Green Line, perform at open mics, and [support] the supply and demand for Raheem DeVaughn. If I didn’t inspire the brand Raheem DeVaughn, I probably wouldn’t be where I am.

4. You’ve worked with the late Pimp C. If you could collaborate with any other non-living artists, who would they be?
Biggie, Pac, Aaliyah, Bob Marley, Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, and Marvin Gaye.

5. Is there any truth to the rumor that you’re related to Chrisette Michele?
Yeah, it’s true. We’re distant cousins. Chrisette is like the cousin that comes to the cookout and you think, “I wish that wasn’t my cousin,” [because] she’s so cute and talented. We are blood cousins, fourth generation. My mom and her family were talking and they definitely traced it back.

6. What is the craziest thing a fan has ever done to get your attention?
They’ll follow you and stuff like that. I’ve been lucky! I’ve signed some boobs here and there. I’ve written on hands, signed cell phones.

7. How did you get into the habit of freestyling instead of writing songs down?
I’ve been like that for the last few years. My first album I wrote down two songs. Now I don’t write anything down. It wasn’t always like that. I had that transition between 2001 and 2003. As an artist, the level of stuff that comes is fast-paced. By the time you hear beats that are real dope, it just comes pouring out.

8. What is your favorite movie of all time?
Paid in Full

9. You have a four-year-old and a two-year-old son. Is there anything on the radio that you won’t let them listen to?
There’s a lot of stuff. I plead the Fifth on what though. There are some artists that come on that are very popular and when they come on, my four-year-old will close his eyes and say, “That’s bad!” They have the intuition to know if somebody is not using their gift for what they should be using it for.

10. If you had to choose between being a billionaire and never doing music, or having a music career and never making money from it, what would you do?
I wouldn’t choose the billionaire route. I could sell water to a well, so I’ll always be alright. One of the realest things I heard Beanie Sigel say on his mixtape, The Playground Bully, is that the richest man is not the one that has the most money, but the one that has a loyal friend. One step further, the richest man is one who has faith in God. Don’t get it twisted, we need paper to survive. I’m going to get that paper, but I’m not money-motivated.

–Tanya Remekie