After a three year hiatus the third album in 'Ghetto Luther's' ghetto themed trilogy 'Ghetto Classics' starts with a song that declares both his belief in his ability and his desire to love just the one woman 'The Chosen One', a song produced by KayGee (formerly of Naughty by Nature) that takes advantage of the brilliant declaration 'I Choose You' sampling Willie Hutch's 1973 Motown hit (This song by Willie Hutch, who died in 2005, was used in the 2005 movie 'Hustle and Flow').
Without a doubt Jaheim is all about thug love...
Dubbed a young crooner with an old voice, Jaheim sings for the older generation bred on greats like Luther Vandross (who he's most compared to) and Teddy Pendergrass but his lyrics are for the younger but mature heads that've grown with the grit of rap music. His throaty vocals remind you that men can also express emotions, confess desire and dote over the one their hearts are set on. Layered vocals with both male and female backups over strings and bass thumps are all soulfully managed by Jaheim. It's hard to pull off heart themed emotional depth when proclaiming thug love but the less than stellar lyrics are easily overlooked as Jaheim delivers them as only he knows how.
Standout tracks on this eleven track album are 'Daddy Thing' where he asks how she could forget he's been the daddy when the biological hasn't been around. Its his shout out to single mums. There's also the first single 'Everytime I Think About Her' feat Jadakiss about a stormy love affair and on the song Jaheim tells his lover that he's learnt from the past and, as he's declared on previous albums, he's learnt how to put his woman first. He never ventures too far beyond his ghetto theme but constantly aspires and shares his goal to get out of the hood someday but not forget the woman who's stuck with him through the hustle. He promises 'I Ain't Never' gonna let that woman go on track seven and declares her pricelessness on my current favourite 'Masterpiece'.
Again, less than brilliant lyrics but the Jaheims vocal quality and ability keeps this album in heavy rotation. He'd do well to move further out from the 'hood' he constantly references in his songs if he wants to be considered on the level of greats like Teddy or Luther. Not quite a classic as he proclaims in the title but a quality album nonetheless…