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Jaheim Still Ghetto Review

Album. Released 2002.  

BBC Review

It will be this record he is remembered for.

Daryl Easlea 2009

Still Ghetto was Jaheim's second album, following on from his debut, Ghetto Love. On it, he comes across as a street corner angel, singing his heart out amid the issues of inner city living, with a molasses-rich voice that gives him gravitas beyond his years (he was in his early 20s at the time of recording).

Born into a musical family, Jaheim had won the Harlem's Apollo Theater's talent contest three times by the time he was 15. Signed to Naughty By Nature's KayGee's Divine Mill Records in 2000, he quickly enjoyed mass success with his debut, which went into the US Top 10.

Still Ghetto is everything you would expect from a smooth, urban love man. There is, however, enough grit in his delivery to give this its darker underside. The title track – complete with a rap from Taquane – updates the socio-political commentaries of Donny Hathaway and Marvin Gaye.

Jaheim has a remarkable singing style reminiscent of Luther Vandross and Teddy Pendergrass; he updates their bedroom formula with tunes such as Tight Jeans. However, it is a very 21st Century message of monogamous love as opposed to his predecessors' serial lovemaking. Best of all is Put That Woman First, an update of the old Johnnie Taylor Stax classic, I Forgot To Be Your Lover.

The album was well-received in the UK, and the upbeat and thoroughly optimistic Fabulous, complete with its children’s chorus, was a minor hit in 2003.

Still Ghetto is an absolute pearl, a perfect encapsulation of the state of R&B/hip hop in the early 00s. Jaheim has gone on from strength to strength, scoring a US No.1 with his third album, Ghetto Classics and dueting with Nelly on My Place. If he never records another note, it will be this record he is remembered for.

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