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Rikers Island

The most recognizable member of Tony! Toni! Toné! is back after an eight year hiatus with his most political work to date. Raphael Saadiq, born Charles Ray Wiggins, poured a cocktail of personal tragedy, lit the pipe of a desecrated country, and drove 100 miles an hour toward freedom with his new album Jimmy Lee. It has been said that the work of an artist is to reflect the times. Together tracks “Rikers Island” and “Rikers Island Redux” are battle cries and love letters to Black American Communities of present day.

Rikers Island speaks to mass incarceration boldly and unapologetically. Somehow the track is upbeat with 70’s style background vocals and the soul of a mother pleading for her incarcerated child to come home. The chorus below pulls no punches.

Too many niggas in Rikers Island.

Why must it be?

Too many niggas in Rikers Island.

Set ’em free.

Rikers Island Redux is the companion poem to Rikers Island. Daniel J. Watts takes rap back to its original Gil Scott-Heron form, rhythm and poetry. With A cold instrumental and Saadiq on background vocals Watts tackles police brutality, the systematic destruction of the black family, white resentment, income inequality, black sellouts and the solution of ownership.

Eight years is a long time between albums, but Jimmy Lee is well worth the wait. Show your love for the kid from Oakland who has dope cuts from every decade in our musical memory! From Tony! Toni! Toné! to Lucy Pearl and now as a solo act we recognize Raphael Saadiq as a Ragpapermedia Icon. Take some time to smell the roses on The Jimmy Lee Tour.

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#RaphaelSaadiq #RikersIsland #CharlesRayWiggins #DanielJWatts #JimmyLee #LucyPearl #TonyToniToné

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