“The Way I See It” is what I’m calling “Time Travel Soul,” because Raphael Saadiq swings so hard trying to hit retro that he loses his balance and lands in 1967. The result is 12 tracks of pure soul commitment and then a Jay-Z remix that hits like a punchline.
And really, that’s the best way to drive home the game of the album. It’s as if no true soul classic could exist today without some opportunistic MC’s subversion. And let’s be honest, it couldn’t. Oh yeah, there are head nodders out there that didn’t know P-Funk before Dre, believe it. They didn’t know The Isleys before Biggie and Puff, didn’t know Chaka before Kanye. Fact is, these days hip hop producers use their samples as a bully pulpit almost as much as they take advantage of their success. And If you think more people didn’t listen to Toy Soldiers after Eminem dropped his version, you’re wrong. I sure I did. So Jay-Z’s barely different rendition of Saadiq’s “Oh Girl,” seems to make the song relevant again after all these years. It puts the final thump into the album’s classic stamp. The impression is left.
Great music is at once familiar and new. And this is the dance that Saadiq steps through with Temptation-like precision. You’re sure you’ve heard this before, but damn, you would remember THIS. You wold remember “The Way I See It.”