Sign up below to be added to our mailing list for the latest news updates, access to exclusive contests, and more!
Two years later, Jaheim experienced more tragedy when his mother died, but he kept the faith and became a sensation in New Jersey at talent shows. Four years after his mother's death, he recorded a demo that led to a deal with producer Kay Gee's Warner-supported Divine Mill label. Ghetto Love, Jaheim's first album, featured an all-star crew that included Next's RL, Blackstreet, and Darren and Cliff Lighty. Driven by the number two R&B/Hip-Hop single "Could It Be," it reached number nine on the Billboard 200 chart. His second album, Still Ghetto, was released in November 2002. Another Top Ten hit, it placed two singles in the Top 40, "Fabulous" and "Anything." Ghetto Classics followed in February 2006 (Valentine's Day, to be exact), and became his first number one album. The Makings of a Man, released on Atlantic in December 2007, was as drawn from classic R&B as his previous recordings, with references to Bobby Womack and Atlantic Starr. In late 2009, the single "Ain't Leavin' Without You" announced the coming of Another Round, which followed in February 2010. It was his fifth consecutive Top Ten R&B album.
Although Jaheim had amassed eight Top 20 R&B/Hip-Hop hits and continued to make sturdy retro-contemporary singles during the 2010s, his sound was marginalized by commercial R&B radio, which was favoring relatively immature and hedonistic content more than ever. His sixth album, Appreciation Day, came in September 2013 and went Top Ten pop and R&B/Hip-Hop without significant radio play. The album featured some of the singer's most humorous and emotionally powerful material, including "Florida," a tribute to Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager who was fatally shot by a neighborhood vigilante. In 2014, Jaheim reactivated his fledgling Julie's Dream label, named after his mother, to support younger artists. Around the same time, he went independent through BMG Rights Management. He continued to record lyrically frank, traditionally rooted R&B with no stylistic concessions. Struggle Love arrived in March 2016. ~ Andrew Hamilton & Andy Kellman