One of the more refreshing songs climbing Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart is Jaheim's "Ain't Leaving Without You." It's the lead single from the singer's Feb. 9 Divine Mill/Atlantic album, "Another Round."
Like Charlie Wilson's Grammy Award-nominated "There Goes My Baby," the midtempo "Leaving" strikes a perfect balance between contemporary and retro R&B-thanks in part to a memorable sample of the Whatnauts' 1982 R&B single, "Help Is on the Way." Other music fans will recall that De La Soul sampled the same song for its 1991 single, "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)." But whatever the reference point, "Leaving"-capped by Jaheim's still-smooth-as-butter vocals-is definitely resonating with listeners. The song climbs four notches this week to No. 12 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and No. 2 on Adult R&B.
Jaheim notes the song came together out of the blue during a club timeout. "We'd been holed up in the studio and needed to get some air," the singer recalls. "So we went to a club and this little thing was running across the floor. And I said, 'Girl, you know what? I'm not leaving here without you.' From there, the boys put it together."
The "boys" Jaheim is referring to are the song's co-writers: Balewa Muhammad, Eritza Laues, Marcella Brailsford and Keir Gist, the last of whom produced the song under his more familiar industry moniker, Kaygee. In addition to Kaygee, who is Jaheim's longtime creative partner, other writers and producers on the album include Carvin & Ivan, BattleRoy, Harold Lilly Jr., J.R. Rotem and Jaheim himself.
Now sporting a braids-free look, Jaheim describes "Another Round" as the "next piece of the puzzle" after "The Makings of a Man," which has sold 565,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. "It's kind of like the last cake we baked," he adds, "but with different ingredients. Think red velvet this time around-it's a real rich album."
A video for the remix of "Leaving" featuring Jadakiss will be shot later this month in New York. In the meantime, a tour, retail campaigns and TV performances are being mapped out.
"I took a break last year," Jaheim says. "But I'm definitely back now. God willing, I'll still be doing my love doctoring 20 years from now."