Instant Vintage

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Instant Vintage
Studio album by Raphael Saadiq
Released June 11, 2002
Recorded 2001-2002
Genre R&B, neo soul, funk, soul
Length 76:17
Label Universal
Producer Raphael Saadiq, Jake & the Phatman, Timothy Christian Riley, Kelvin Wooten
Raphael Saadiq chronology
Instant Vintage
Ray Ray
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Blender 4/5 stars[2]
Chicago Sun-Times 3.5/4 stars[3]
Robert Christgau (A-)[4]
Entertainment Weekly (B)[5]
New York Times (favorable)[6]
PopMatters (favorable)[7]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[8]
USA Today 3.5/4 stars[9]
Yahoo! Music (favorable)[10]

Instant Vintage is the debut solo album of American R&B and neo soul musician Raphael Saadiq. It serves as Saadiq's first full-length solo album after spending much of his post-Tony! Toni! Toné! career as session player and producer. Primarily a neo soul album,[11] it also exhibits musical styles such as funk and quiet storm.[12] The title reflects the old-school style that Saadiq has adopted for the album. However, he describes the type of music — a mix of samples, soul, gospel, and R&B — as "gospedelic".

The album earned him his first Grammy nominations, for Best R&B Album, while "Be Here" was nominated for Best R&B Song and Best Urban/Alternative Performance in 2003.[11] It reached number 25 on the Billboard 200 chart and number 6 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.[13]

In December 2009, Rhapsody ranked the album #10 on its "Best R&B Albums of the Decade" list.[14]


Born Charles Ray Wiggins in Oakland, California Raphael Saadiq branched out from local performances and launched his professional music career as a bass player for Sheila E touring with Prince’s Lovesexy promotion in Japan at the age of seventeen. Saadiq went on to form the group Tony! Toni! Toné! with his cousin Timothy Christian Riley and brother Dwayne Wiggins which brought him experience both as lead vocalist and bass player. Saadiq was also an original member of the group Lucy Pearl with Dawn Robinson and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, before moving on to become a producer and session player, and finally transitioning into a solo artist with the album Instant Vintage.[15]

Saadiq wrote "Skyy, Can You Feel Me" the night of American singer Aaliyah's death, which he recalled in an interview for Billboard, saying that "I was just feeling kind of 'angel-y' about her."[16]

Release and promotion[edit]

With contributions from producers Jake and the Phatman and Raymond Murray, the album Instant Vintage was completed in approximately seven months and ready for release May 28, 2002 on the Pookie Entertainment/Universal Records label. According to Billboard, Universal planned a marketing tour which included stops in twelve major cities and ran from mid-May until mid-June 2002. Saadiq was also scheduled to tour with Joi (singer) by manager Blue at Family Tree. Billboard quotes a Universal senior director of marketing stating that most of the promotion budget was spent on touring complemented by print marketing.[17]


Instant Vintage received generally positive reviews from contemporary music critics. Unrated Magazine has claimed this album to be a peek into what funk and soul will be in the future. The album has made many critics compare him to musical legends like Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye. Raphael's first solo album has also granted him a first time Grammy nomination for Best R&B Album, R&B Song, and Best Urban/Alternative.[18] Ethan Brown of New York Magazine wrote about the albums immediate reception in Europe in contrast to the underwhelming response in the United States. Brown stated, “Vintage quickly found fans in Europe…the album was ignored by American critics...the record struggled to find an audience among R&B fans accustomed to teenage superstars.”[19]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Doing What I Can" (Raphael Saadiq, Glenn Standridge, Bobby Ozuna) (4:19)
  2. "Body Parts" (Raphael Saadiq, Glenn Standridge, Bobby Ozuna) (3:49)
  3. "Be Here" (featuring D'Angelo) (Raphael Saadiq, Glenn Standridge, Bobby Ozuna, Michael Archer) (3:48)
  4. "Still Ray" (Raphael Saadiq, Glenn Standridge, Bobby Ozuna, Kelvin Wooten) (3:03)
  5. "Oph" (Raphael Saadiq, Shyronda Felder, Kimberly A. Clausell, John T. Smith) (2:34)
  6. "You're the One That I Like" (Raphael Saadiq, Glenn Standridge, Bobby Ozuna) (3:13)
  7. "Excuse Me" (featuring Angie Stone and Calvin Richardson) (Raphael Saadiq, Glenn Standridge, Bobby Ozuna, Angie Stone, Calvin Richardson) (3:24)
  8. "Charlie Ray" (Raphael Saadiq, Glenn Standridge, Bobby Ozuna) (2:42)
  9. "Different Times" (featuring T-Boz of TLC) (Raphael Saadiq, Tionne Watkins) (5:01)
  10. "Tick Tock" (Raphael Saadiq, Raymon Murray, Olivia Ewing) (4:28)
  11. "People" (Raphael Saadiq, Raymon Murray, Taura Jackson) (4:26)
  12. "Tek #1" (Raphael Saadiq, Tony Cottrell) (0:31)
  13. "Faithful" (Raphael Saadiq, Kelvin Wooten) (4:05)
  14. "Make My Day" (Raphael Saadiq, Glenn Standridge, Bobby Ozuna) (1:39)
  15. "Blind Man" (Raphael Saadiq, Glenn Standridge, Bobby Ozuna) (4:36)
  16. "Tek #2" (Raphael Saadiq, Tony Cottrell) (2:10)
  17. "Uptown" (Raphael Saadiq) (5:07)
  18. "What's Life Like" (Raphael Saadiq, Timothy Christian Riley) (2:49)
  19. "Skyy, Can You Feel Me" (Raphael Saadiq, Charity Smith, Alvie Wiggins) (14:33)


Credits for Instant Vintage adapted from CD Universe/Muze.[20]