"The aim for this record," says Musiq Soulchild about "LUVANMUSIQ," his first album for Atlantic Records, "is basically to reintroduce myself."
As if he really needs an introduction. After debuting in 2000 with the brilliant "AIJUSWANASEING," and following that up with "JUSLISEN" (2002) and "SOULSTAR" (2003), Musiq Soulchild became known for creating some of the most compelling soul of the new millennium. Crafting ear-caressing tracks that blended old-school soul fervor with new-school hip-hop rhythms, he went on to sell three million albums in the U.S. alone, gathering a string of major awards in the process.
It is Musiq's quiet devotion to his sonic impact as a musician that drives the man to want to re-introduce himself, to set up his return to the airwaves and the clubs as a new beginning of sorts, and not take for granted his status in the music industry. "I've been away for a little while," he says. "The industry's changed and so have I - personally, mentally, psychologically. I look at my previous three albums as grade school, middle school, and high school. Now with this new album, "LUVANMUSIQ," its like I'm going off to college."
And college never sounded so good. If college is that place where you learn who you are and what you want to contribute to the world, "LUVANMUSIQ" is the album Musiq Soulchild was meant to make, crammed with full-bodied tracks that take soul music to the high level he has always reached for. From the funky, hip-hop-inflected, "Heartbeat"-throwback "Buddy," to the stunningly beautiful "Teach Me" and the Stevie Wonderesque "Questions," "LUVANMUSIQ" is a generous, open-armed declaration of heart and soul. It is a collection full of the musings of a man who appreciates the perks of maturity, and who doesn't have time for the child-like games and sounds that seem to define so much modern music.
It sounds like the music of a Man, a man trying to maintain, a man not driven by the more youthful priorities that seem to dominate music today. Which is exactly what Musiq was aiming for.
"I like to write and perform songs that have a more realistic perspective on things," says Musiq. "A lot of people use songs for escapism and poetic aesthetics, but I would like to think that humanity has evolved. I would like to inspire people to start thinking that way. Look, man," he adds with a laugh, "I'm not twenty-one anymore, so I'm not talking about that same stuff."
What he is doing is trying new things.
Check out "Buddy," featuring the MC-ing of one of the best singers that modern R&B has to offer. "I'm kind of easing my way into MC-ism, even though I've wanted to do it for a loooong time," says Musiq. "I hadn't really warmed up to it before because I respect the craft. It's not something you can just jump into and do. I love hip-hop, the idea of it. I love the culture of it, the basics and the foundation of it.