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Ghetto Love: Jaheim brings insight to love in the ghetto
By Amanda Jackson (Associate Writer)
(more articles from this author)
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In the midst of crime, poverty, thuggin, drama, and bad ghetto politics; there is love.

Jaheim Hoagland brings it afloat just when you were about to believe all the misconceptions of drowning love and relationships in the 21st century.

The 22-year-old is blessed with the old soul of Teddy Pendergrass and the silky tones of Luther Vandross. He's recognizing the salvation of love that has revived young and old alike in the ghetto.

"Music is like making love, you have to take your time, and do it slow, " he said.

The New Jersey native has worked hard to earn his position in the spotlight. The triumphs and trials would prepare him for the crowning of his name's glory; God's wisdom.

With the early death of his father at 2 and losing his mother to spinal meningitis at 17, a lost Jaheim was thrust into the real world with angels all around him.

Singing would be the solace that soothed Jaheim's aching soul and remained through his stints with trouble and teenage anguish.

He was left to conquer the world or let it conquer him.

To his surprise, at age 15, the heartthrob had a three-time winning streak at The Apollo and in 1996 with the help of an uncle, he made a demo of Luther Vandross's "Never Too Much."

A trip to the Newark, New Jersey's Naughty Gear store would change his life forever. Producer KayGee, of Naughty By Nature, who has produced mega hits for Zhane and Next heard the demo and a week later Jaheim was asked to audition.

"It took three years to do the album, but it took all of those three years to get me ready for now," he said.

It also gave him time to get to know what he did and didn't want in other areas of his life, such as trouble and bad women.

A woman can have the glitz and glam of a superstar, but Jaheim claims to see through the exterior of those with false pretensions.

"In the first fifteen minutes I can size up a female and tell where she's coming from," he said with extreme confidence, "It's all in the way she talks and what she's talking about."

Being in the industry has broadened his search for the right woman, but not made him lose sight of what is most important.

"I have fun with the females that I meet but at the same time I know what I need," he said.

Women are running after the young R&B crooner like melted butter, but Jaheim realizes his needs are far more important than what any groupie can offer."I need for a woman to understand and to know what I have to go through everyday," he said.

These days Jaheim is no longer at the New Jersey Transit trains singing his heart out, he's racing to interviews, meeting fans and doing interviews by cell phone hoping the battery stays charged long enough to get his point across.

The industry is calling his name, and he's on fire with the solo debut 'Ghetto Love' on Divine Mill/Warner Brothers Records.

"Everything you hear on the album is personal. It was all something I went through," said Jaheim, "I was young and made a lot of mistakes. You do things when you're young."

On Ghetto Love Jaheim stirs emotion symbolizing that love and pain often go hand in hand so that we can understand how powerful and meaningful it is. After all, would we really understand the beauty of love if we never knew pain?

The light and airy "Heaven in Your Eyes" shows Jaheim's vulnerable side. But the best is saved for last on the tracks, "Love Is Still Here" and "Forever." The emotional tribute "For Moms" brands Jaheim a man while others his age are coping with their testosterone levels.

When I think of you and all that's true /
all you said would come to pass /
I get confused /
with life's many rules /
Sometimes this road is hard to bear /
I didn't know /
that you would be gone /
and all of my yesterdays and tomorrows I'd spend alone.

The undeniable wedding ballad of the year, "Remarkable" with Terry Dexter, recaptures love.

Jaheim is a romantic and still believes that true commitment exists despite what the critics say. In order for a woman to believe a man, his word must be his bond.

"If I tell her once (I love her), I shouldn't have to tell her again," he said bluntly.

Being in the industry has broadened his search for the right woman, but not made him lose sight of what's most important.

Jaheim's ideal mate is down to earth and beautiful in every aspect.

"She's beautiful mentally, physically, spiritually and reflects me," he said. Although he hasn't had time to do his favorite pastime and chill by the beach he'll cherish it much more when he does. "My ideal night on the town is being able to travel, to go and just chill out, but right now I've been jammed up in the industry."

The battery is dying and Jaheim's cell phone while he's racing to do another interview to promote the album. Unexpectedly the crooner's silky bravado explodes through the cell phone belting, "I used to be such a bad, bad boy," and busts out laughing flirtatiously.

The chill rings through the telephone as if he were whispering the words right in my ear.

If I didn't know any better, I'd say the bad boy turned good still has a little devil in him.

Related MusicDish e-Journal Articles:
» Jaheim - Ghetto Love - Warner Bros. Records (2001-03-05)

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