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Rahsaan Patterson’s After Hours is a Delicious Bite of Pure Soul  
by Deborah Hinds
Since the release of his self-titled debut in
1997, R&B/Soul singer Rahsaan Patterson
has managed to attract legions of loyal fans
around the world with his rousing, soulful
voice, yet hasn’t yet found much
mainstream success. Although many fans
may enjoy following a huge talent who still
manages to be somewhat underground,the
rest of us are left scratching our heads as to
why this vocal powerhouse with every marketable quality a record
label would require on their “neo soul/R&B” artist roster is not selling
millions of records. Great voice? Check.  Great music? Check.  Great
live performer? Check. Whatever the reason, it seems only a matter
of time before Patterson’s “under the radar” hype goes from small
venues from Philly to Paris to the airwaves of every radio station with
an R&B format. Soon, everyone will be groovin’ to this cat’s vibe.

The growing list of artists who reign over the “neo soul R&B” category
currently includes Maxwell, Musiq Soulchild, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott,
and many others, but to not include Patterson, whose voice is
synonymous with anyone’s definition of soul music seems a crime. In
fact, in terms of sheer talent and songwriting, Patterson easily tops
the list among soul music artists. Patterson’s third CD, After Hours
may just be the vehicle to send him into the R&B/Adult Contemporary
stratosphere among both the 30 plus and minus crowds. And while
much has been written about Patterson’s likeness to Stevie Wonder
and other early soul greats, there’s something completely modern
about Patterson’s music. Like his talented Neo Soul contemporaries,
he’s able to suggest the rich soul sound of the past but put his own
fresh imprint on it. There’s nothing redundant or throw back about his
music. He’s got the type of voice you can feel in your chest.

After Hours begins with the infectious, feel good “The One for Me,”
which folks might remember from the Steve Harvey-produced “The
Sign of Things to Come” compilation released in 2002 (MCA).
Patterson’s signature mid tempo melody and soul drenched vocals
deftly describe the blissful stage of early love : “In my eyes you’re so
beautiful/So magical/My heart is beating repetitiously for you…I gotta
find that special place that beholds the love/It’s written in your milky
heart of sweetness…” If “The Only One for Me” is among the best
tracks on After Hours the remaining tracks don’t disappoint, each with
their own unique story and sound. The second track, “I Always Find
Myself” is a slower, head-bopping’ tune, evoking the guitar strums
and beat that you’d find on a now classic Tony Toni Toné song (see
“The Blues”).  From there, the album hits its musical climax with the
explosive, dance floor or Stairmaster-ready tracks “Hot” and

Four of the tracks on After Hours are collaborations between
Patterson and fellow soul singer Van Hunt, who collaborated with
Patterson on his 1999 release “Love in Stereo.” The Patterson/Hunt
collaborations are easily the funkiest and most melancholy of the
tracks on “After Hours.” They include “The Best,” a heart wrenching
ballad of the end of a love affair , “Separate,” a catchy tune that
exudes the frustration of a lover at his wit’s end, and “Loving You,”
which describes a “hazardous to your health” relationship akin to an
out of control crack habit: “Gotta have it/Expensive habit/Spent all my
dough…now I want more…Make that easy cash/And make a mad
dash/Back to your place/‘Cause my body shakes/Love ya hard and
fast/’Till the chill passes away/‘Till I’m okay…”.

The collection of songs on After Hours is universally satisfying, as
Patterson seamlessly moves from midtempo to uptempo to ballad and
back lacing every track with his steamy, sultry, heartfelt vocals. With
a voice that can only be described as pure soul, it’s clear this guy
could make a car insurance commercial sound sexy. Patterson is a
true artist, treating each song like a painter sweeping across a plain
canvas, leaving it flushed with satisfaction.

"After Hours" will be released in the states on October 28, 2004