There are some great moments on The Love & War MasterPeace really great. In fact the six-minute opus “Garden of Love” is so good that it helps me with some of the “slower” moments of the drama that is this recording.

The reason that I refer to this album as a drama is pretty apparent because it is organized in a manner befitting the best of the Shakespearean school of drama production. Each act is cleverly tied together by the narrator of narrators Dr. Cornel West. But for my money the majority of the beauty and high drama resides in the finale. Not that the other acts don’t have their bright spots, the aforementioned “Garden of Love” which I can best describe as Raheem DeVaughn channeling the muses of Marvin and Prince into his own “slow jam” for the ages. A “Distant Lover/Adore” as it were. “Bedroom” is another standout from earlier in the set. But the finale…

For me the finale set of: “Revelations 2010”, “Nobody Wins A War”, “Fragile”, “The Greatness” and “Bulletproof” puts this project into the territory where I’m thinking “What’s Going On” Side 1. It’s as if Raheem DeVaughn was given the freedom to say and make music his music and his statement. Now this is mere conjecture on my part, I can’t read minds and I don’t have any insight from the artist himself but these songs with the other stand out tracks that I have mentioned, sound and feel to me as a listener in a different space than the rest of the material.

In other words what I’m really trying to say is that the finale tracks and the other standouts sound like Raheem DeVaughn digging deep into his artistry whereas, some of the other material sound like Raheem DeVaughn or someone advising him, encouraging him to dig deep into the industry. What I mean by that last statement is that an industry sound is homogeneous, quite simply insert singer into this track. Raheem DeVaughn’s abilities as a writer/singer etc., far surpass that. I realize that the music industry is a business and often in business folks are reluctant to take chances so they want to cling to the familiar. No need to do that here, the chances are what make this record beautiful.

My recommendation is to purchase this album, because the value of the songs that I have highlighted make this a must-have set. Kudos for the incorporation of one of the greatest intellectuals of all-time Dr. Cornel West. Radio programmers you can send your thanks here to GFM when you get a tremendous response for closing out your “Quiet Storm” program with “Garden of Love”.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.