Recording artist Raphael Saadiq attends the GQ Men Of The Year Party at The Ebell Club of Los Angeles on November 12, 2013 in Los Angeles
Recording artist Raphael Saadiq attends the GQ Men Of The Year Party at The Ebell Club of Los Angeles on November 12, 2013 in Los Angeles

*Raphael Saadiq has expanded his creative domain to include Hollywood with the upcoming holiday musical “Black Nativity,” which marks his debut as a film scorer.

The movie – based on the 1961 Broadway musical by Langston Hughes – follows a street-wise teen from Baltimore who is sent to New York City by his struggling single mother to spend the Christmas holiday with his estranged grandparents – played by Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker.

The two veteran actors also contribute to the Saadiq-produced soundtrack, lending their pipes to the songs “Be Grateful,” “He Loves Me Still,” “Can’t Stop Praising His Name,” “As” and “Jesus On The Mainline.”

“We had a lot that did not make it,” Saadiq said of tracks left on the cutting room floor. “Forest does a lot of songs that will be on the DVD and on the soundtrack.”

black-nativity soundtrack

Saadiq was to serve only as the film’s executive music producer, writing original songs for the film while Spike Lee’s go-to guy Terence Blanchard was set to write the score. But the former Tony! Toni! Tone! and Lucy Pearl crooner was eventually called upon to oversee both areas, teaming with Laura Karpman for the score.

This meant that Saadiq, musically steeped in R&B, hip hop and jazz, would have to take his talents to gospel for the first time. Below, the artist says it was important that his musical contributions not only did right by Langston Hughes, but was also in sync with director Kasi Lemmons and her vision.

“Black Nativity” opens nationwide on Nov. 27. Below, listen to the soundtrack’s first single “Be Grateful,” performed by J-Hud and Whitaker, and produced by Saadiq.

“Music From The Motion Picture Black Nativity” track listing:

1. Be Grateful – Forest Whitaker & Jennifer Hudson
2. Coldest Town – Jacob Latimore
3. Test Of Faith – Jennifer Hudson
4. Motherless Child – Jacob Latimore feat. Nas
5. Hush Child (Get You Through This Silent Night) – Jennifer Hudson, Luke James, Grace Gibson & Jacob Latimore
6. He Loves Me Still – Angela Bassett & Jennifer Hudson
7. Can’t Stop Praising His Name – Forest Whitaker
8. Sweet Little Jesus Boy – Tyrese
9. Rise Up Shepherd and Follow – Mary J. Blige & Nas
10. Fix Me Jesus – Jennifer Hudson
11. Jesus On the Mainline – Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker
12. As – Cast

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