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The Return Of Raphael Saadiq

For His First Album In Eight Years, The Legendary R&b Singer And Producer Decided To Explore Addiction In All Its Forms. The Result Is Jimmy Lee, His Most Personal Project To Date.

Marcus J. Moore

RAPHAEL SAADIQ’S LIFE HAS BEEN marked by addiction. The second youngest of 12 children, he’s seen a sister struggle with substance abuse and a brother so tormented by a drug habit that it drove him to suicide. But it was another of Saadiq’s siblings, Jimmy Lee, who’s had the biggest impact on him. Jimmy Lee was also an addict—he died from a heroin overdose at the age of 42—but Saadiq says that his brother, who was 14 years older, was fun, witty, and smiling, even after he had contracted HIV from sharing needles. “I always tried to stop people from disrespecting him,” Saadiq, 53, tells EW. “There was always someone saying something negative about him because of his addiction. At the time I didn’t really know why I was doing it.”

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September 2019

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