Raheem DeVaughn reflects on what “Marvin Used to Say”

50 years ago, Marvin Gaye released his thought-provoking single, “What’s Going On,” as the title track to his 1971 album.

R&B vocalist Raheem DeVaughn felt it was only right to “pay homage” to the late, legendary musician by sampling the song on his 2020 single, “Marvin Used to Say.” 

“I felt like the messaging on that record gave me opportunity not only to pay homage to Marvin Gaye, but to also speak to my people and speak for the people,” DeVaughn tells ABC Audio. “There’s still a lot of the things that he talked about then that we’re experiencing now.”

On the track, DeVaughn sings of hope and strength while directly addressing the social unrest across the nation over racism and police brutality. He believes it’s important to discuss the “global” impact of systemic racism despite “the leaps and strides we made as a race of people not only in this country but on the planet” in the last year.

“Marvin Used to Say” is one of the many love songs, ballads and protest anthems on DeVaughn’s latest album, What a Time to Be in Love, which he described as “movement music.”

“It’s movement music, not only for the better of me, but also for the movement. So that was the agenda with that record,” he says. “Something that spoke to right now to…where we are. This is one of those R&B soul records that people will look back on…during this decade and say this was a great body of work.”  (AUDIO IS ABC 1-ON-1)

What a Time to Be in Love is out now.

By Rachel George
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