The debut album from Jaheim, Ghetto Love is sexy, soulful R&B mixed with hardcore hip-hop. Executive produced by Kaygee, who's propelled Zhane, Next and his own group Naughty By Nature to platinum success, Jaheim's Ghetto Love tells it like it is. Certified Platinum by the RIAA. (3/02)
Fans of tried-and-true gutbucket R&B have much cause for joy this spring: there's a new crop of down-home, take-no-prisoners love-men and -women in town, and leading the pack is Jaheim, a roughneck Romeo from New Jersey. Signed to ex-Naughty By Nature
DJ Kay-Gee's Divine Mill imprint (and with production mainly by Mr. "Hip Hop Hooray"
), Jaheim's tender-but-tough sound harks back to Teddy Pendergrass
: just listen to the sexy moan that kicks off the single "Could It Be." Not even remotely shabby. As this debut's title indicates, Ghetto Love
overflows with rough-hewn odes to romance on the raw side of town. In this case, that means songs about giving as much love to one's niggas as to one's bitches, denying paternity, and rhymes about Hennessey. It might look clichéd on paper, but Jaheim is skilled enough to transcend trite truisms. On the smoky "Looking For Love" and the finger-snapping "Let It Go," he earns his stripes, making his mark with a taut CD that has an old playa's soul and a new jack's swagger. --Amy Linden