Raphael Saadiq is Neo Soul plain and simple. His latest The Way I See It is the record that he’s been leading up to since his days in Tony! Toni! Toné!. The opening rave up “Sure Hope You Mean It” sets the tone straight out of the gate with vibe to spare. Joss Stone lends her sultry vocals to “Just One Kiss” and Stevie Wonder turns in a harmonica solo on the brilliant “Never Give You Up”. From Motown to Philly to Stax the influence is clear but this feels as real and relevant as anything in R&B these days. If you are a fan of soul and in need of a meal, this record is like mama’s cooking, warm and familiar and always your favorite. This is one of my favorite records of 2008 so far.