In the Kitchen with the "Love King" Raheem DeVaughn

by Jonah Wolf

D.C. soul singer Raheem DeVaughn calls himself the Love King, which would be a bold move even if the title hadn't been appropriated by The-Dream on his third album. Still, DeVaughn has some expertise on his subject, with three love-themed albums under his belt: 2005's The Love Experience2008's Love Behind the Melody, and 2010's Grammy-nominated, Cornel West-narrated The Love & War MasterPeace. Now separated from his former label, DeVaughn is gearing up to release A Place Called Loveland on August 20. He recently visited the PAPER offices to perform and chat.

How did you get to A Place Called Loveland?

The last album, the deluxe double-CD version is like 28 joints. So I felt like I gave the fans a lot of music to live with. I felt like that was some of my best body of work to date. Every other album is pretty much socially conscious-slash-love, and then the next album will be like a love think-tank album. So I'm back to the love think-tank album.

I think music constantly changes and I think we're in a '90s phase of R&B, it's like a futuristic '90s phase of R&B, and that's where I fit in. Definitely back to the future right now.

Your last album was a mix of love songs and socially conscious songs. This one is all love songs. Would you ever do the reverse and do a record with no love songs?

Yeah, eventually. I think that's where it's headed for me. Socially conscious music, folk music, I want to be able to do just the guy with the guitar, tour the world like that. Citizen Cope is a friend of mine, he's also from DC, and I'm a huge fan of his work. He was on my last album, the song "Nobody Wins a War." We've been following each other's careers. I know that right now he's doing a tour that's just him and his guitar. And he's selling it out night after night. I think the fans want that -- they like the raw and unplugged version.

You've taken to calling yourself the Love King, and giving love advice. What's your authority?

It can be misconstrued some times. You come off arrogant if you don't have an explanation for it. It's more like the "Love King" in the sense that, from a relationship standpoint, my music brings people together. From all walks of life. Race doesn't matter, none of that matters, whether it's for a lifetime or for a moment. More importantly, I feel like all of us as individuals, we're royalty. That's how you should demand to be treated. Definitely in A Place Called Loveland, you should be the Love King, and your significant other should be the Love Queen. It's really just about telling the listeners and the music lovers, "We're all royalty." I try to make a habit to refer to everybody, if I'm talking to a homie or whatever, to call him the King.

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