Ray Ray 2017 Dreads From Mindless Behavior
Reviewing the album in The Independent, Phil Johnson called it "madder and badder" than Saadiq's debut record and found its sound "more radical". "No one can distress a production like Raphael", he said, believing the singer's "multi-instrumental talents and Stevie Wonder-ish voice make him a Prince for the Noughties. " Andria Lisle of Paste commended Saadiq's "versatility" and found the album "softer than Cee-lo and sexier than Ricky Fanté". Neil Drumming of Entertainment Weekly complimented Saadiq's "bass virtuosity" and "grown and sexy" vibe, although he viewed some of his songwriting as "amateur". The Boston Globe's Ken Capobianco observed an "overriding sense of joy and mischief throughout jams", and found Saadiq's "musical exuberance . . . infectious". Although he found it lacking a "centerpiece track", Capobianco ultimately praised the album as a "funk" departure from most of the contemporary soul he found "studied and overly reverent". Slant Magazine editor Sal Cinquemani found it flawed as a concept album, but commended Saadiq for "conjuring soul greats like Stevie Wonder ('Live Without You'), Curtis Mayfield ('Grown Folks'), and Prince ('I Know Shuggie Otis') throughout", and stated, "just because the storyline(s) . . . ceases to exist after the first few songs that doesn't mean the rest of the tracks aren't good. " Geoffrey Himes of The Washington Post noted Saadiq for having "a rare gift for linking seductive melodies to slinky grooves" and stated, "Ray Ray is just a collection of disconnected songs . . . failing to establish a narrative. But what terrific songs they are. "