While many of the 2011 Grammy nominees were celebrating their nods, soul singer [artist id=”1693712″]Raheem DeVaughn[/artist] was stirring up Web controversy.
The Washington, D.C., crooner dropped the visual for his Jackin’ 4 Beats mixtape cut “She’s Single” a day before the Recording Academy recognized his third album, “The Love & War MasterPeace,” with a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Album. DeVaughn also said he dropped the joint a day before World AIDS Day and featured a plug for Magnum condoms to bring attention to the issue of safe sex. However, for many, the accolade and the activism were eclipsed by the sexed-up clip, which features DeVaughn engaging in some acrobatic bedroom moves with a lady friend.
When MTV News caught up with the singer via phone recently, he explained that the video, which became a trending topic on Twitter, wasn’t crafted to be overly racy, but rather reflects DeVaughn’s creative space at the moment.
“I’ve shown my soul in so many other different lights. I’m in a real sexy mode right now, grown-man sexy,” he said. “That’s really just what I wanted to capture. I wanted to really make a video that captures line by line what it is I’m talking about on the record.”
In order to embody the baby-making vibe of the song, the video must feature imagery that rivals lyrics like, “I’ll let you ride it like Ferrari,” and “I hit it, hit it, hit it like a hockey stick.” And the “Customer” singer did not hold back with the accompanying visual, packing the clip with crimson-lit scenes of DeVaughn consorting in the nude with a woman who’s stepping out on her man. However, DeVaughn doesn’t consider the video a raunch-fest, but rather an honest portrait of what goes down between consenting adults who want to indulge privately in a steamy romp.
“I wouldn’t necessarily call it raunchy,” he said.” I think it’s more tasteful. If that’s the word cats choose to run with it, I’ve seen a lot more raunchy stuff than that. It ain’t like I’m poppin’ off with the ménage or got four or five different girls in the room. I’m really just showing the interaction between black man [and] black woman. It’s imagery, and it’s the most intimate moments. It is what it is. At the end of the day, it’s art.”
DeVaughn also maintained that the video is consistent with much of his previous work — which ranges from the sultry to the socially conscious — in terms of the level of detail and work he puts in to each clip.
“When I make my socially conscious songs, I go hard with the lyrical content, I go hard with the imagery. It’s no different than the risks I’ve taken in my lyrics … as far as the artistry. That’s where I’m at right now,” he said.
He also added that although it’s not his first time speaking candidly about gettin’ down in his music, he thought it was time to elaborate on the sexy nature of his words.
“My lyrics have always been very sensual. I think people have always wondered, ’What’s it’s like? What’s the image like?’ ” he said.
While fans may have been curious about Raheem’s moves between the sheets, the singer said he didn’t expect such a strong response to the video.
“I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years, though, that it would get the response that it’s been getting. It’s really kind of hard to gauge in these … times who’s checking for you. At the end of the day, it’s all good,” he said. “It’s been interesting the feedback I’ve been getting. I’m surprised. Ninety-five percent of the feedback has been good, though, to know that people out there appreciate art in its purest form and appreciate my music and appreciate the image I gave them.”
Have you seen the “She’s Single” clip? Share your reviews in the comments.