Raphael Saadiq‘s new album Stone Rollin’ hit stores today, and the man himself hit up VH1′s New York City offices, appearing for an interview on Big Morning Buzz Live this morning and then recording an exclusive VH1 Top 20 Live set that we were lucky enough to witness.
The youthful Saadiq (if not for Tony! Toni! Toné! you’d never believe he turns 45 on Saturday) immediately got the assembled crowd clapping—and even singing a callback—for “Heart Attack,” the album’s opener and one of its more straight-ahead soul tracks. But despite adapting retro song styles (like the blues form of “Daydreaming”), his songs still sounded like music of today, a distinction implicitly proven by their juxtaposition with the band’s cover of Marvin Gaye‘s 1963 classic “Pride and Joy.” That cut was retro in the best way: some audience members even provided callbacks without prompting.
They closed the set with the album’s title track “Stone Rollin’.” Saadiq explained that the song’s inspiration was a youthful recollection of “a full figured lady” that he and a football-player friend saw as kids, fascinated by her movement. “We watched her for like five blocks, like wow,” he quipped, and even offered an apology/correction of sorts to his music video: “The girl in the video should have been bigger,” but neither his label nor his bandmates agreed.
This VH1 Top 20 Live set should be available soon, but until then, watch the video for “Stone Rollin’” below.
Setlist: “Heart Attack”/”Daydreaming”/”Pride and Joy” (Marvin Gaye cover)/”Stone Rollin’”