Raheem DeVaughn, "The Love & War Masterpeace"
While most contemporary artists are content to stay in the same lane, Raheem DeVaughn veers across the double lines on this ambitious outing without ever losing control. One-half social commentary and one-half love songs, "The Love & War Masterpeace" channels the creative spirit of Marvin Gaye as it conveys the search for inner peace amid the everyday challenges of recession, war, racism and relationships. Aided by Ludacris, DeVaughn paints a powerful picture about life in the hood on the moving "Bulletproof." The singer next enlists such R&B standouts as Jill Scott and Anthony Hamilton for the compelling "Nobody Wins a War." DeVaughn comes just as hard on the love side with "The Greatness" (featuring Wale) and "Garden of Love." Tying the package together: interludes by scholarly griot Dr. Cornel West. Drawing from a palette rich in R&B, hip-hop and jazz, DeVaughn has crafted a powerful, thought-provoking album.