Last time we heard about D’Angelo (Michael Eugene Archer) brings us back to 2000 with the ‘Voodoo’ album. In other words, the follow up to the memorable ‘Brown Sugar’ that confered him the Neo-Soul icon status back then. Quite a period of silence, if not an eternity which has seen our environment changing so much since.
Suffice to say that Archer had more or less disappeared from the surface of the earth. Even though poppin’ up enough to tease us along with time. But appearantly not enough though to convince anyone he would end up putting together his much awaited third album by the likes of ‘Black Messiah’…
Now the wait is over. This with both its first taste, ‘Sugah Daddy’. A track which has been a part of the man’s live set since he returned to the stage 2 years ago. Then the album itself – ‘Black Messiah’ – which he released as D’Angelo and The Vanguard. Itself comin’ to light last Sunday nite on both iTunes and Spotify.
To many, the man just stands as an E.T. Somehow unable to stand the pressure that grew over him and his incomparable talent. But also doin’ whatever he could to get off the inevitable niche the show business had initially thought for he would be nicely sitting in.
As a matter of fact, D’Angelo, just like Marvin Gaye, never stood standing at the front of his music. So the fact that he struggled with an environment that wanted to get him on the top the R&B shelve is nothing of a surprise. And I’m not even talking about the sex symbol status he got after the release of the ‘Untitled Video’!!!
The expression of the art – and I mean true art – is miles away from this kind of per definition mercantile considerations. And this, in addition to the ever growing expectations further to the releases of his two albums. With the latter being for much on his destabilization and the turbulent years he spent out of the spotlights. An uncomfortable situation that saw him manifesting his distress thru various wrong doings. As many contingencies that got him either arrested or into rehab.
He managed resurfacing though, with the constant support of ?uestlove who he’d closely worked with on the ‘Voodoo’ album. The latter bringing him back to live performances back in 2012. Be it at Bonnaroo’s Superjam and various festivals. But also later on alongside Mary J Blige. Even though he would have to cancel tour dates last Summer due to a hospitalization.
Now the long D’Angelo‘s new effort is available for our appreciation. But how long has it been in the making? ?uestlove revealed he’d had convs with the singer about this album as soon as the ‘Voodoo’ tour ended. Meanwhile, according to D’Angelo’s management, one of the songs of the album got finished only recently.
Like usual though, a few cuts didn’t pass the final exam to make it on the new album. Let’s just hope it won’t take another 15 years for their follow-up to come up!
Just like the building of the famous Aston Martin One Seven Seven, D’Angelo has pushed every single detail to the limit on ‘Black Messiah’. Eventually playing on every ounce of meaning of his repertoire lyrically speaking. Meanwhile, and in the true vein of the late J Dilla‘s productions, intoxication seems like the first and only word comin’ to mind when speakin’ of the beats. With the latter adding much to the syncopation of in yer face basslines and infectious drum patterns.
‘Black Messiah’ reveals itself as a release in all senses of the term. But first and foremost, the release of a long maturated and finely crafted nectar. Divine emotions? Sounds like…
Download from iTunes.
Spotlight: D’Angelo returning as the Black Messiah!
You might also like…
D’Angelo – Brown Sugar (EMI)