Photo by Greg Harris.
The wait is finally over for neo soul and R&B fans as neo soul legend D’Angelo dropped his new album Black Messiah at midnight. D’Angelo fans have been waiting for 14 years for the follow up to his classic 2000 album, Voodoo.
Before releasing the album at midnight, the maestro of soul and funk hosted a listening party with longtime friend Questlove in Manhattan. The album is credited to D’Angelo and the Vanguard, and The 12-track album features contributions from Questlove, Q-Tip, bassist Pino Palladino, drummer James Gadson and Parliament Funkadelic collaborator Kendra Foster (who is credited as a co-writer on eight songs).
“It’s a passion project, and it’s everything,” Questlove told the audience at the listening party. “I don’t really want to give a hyperbolic or grandiose statement, but it’s everything. It’s beautiful, it’s ugly, it’s truth, it’s lies. It’s everything.”
Black Messiah is definitely the follow up R&B fans could’ve hoped for as it is funky with D’Angelo’s lush vocals and incredible range floating above some nice instrumentation with the guitars, bass, drums, horns, and keyboards. D’Angelo has been cooking up the funk and soul that only he can emote on a track for over a decade, and now it is ready to be served.
The album may be his most political to date as it features some of his most explicitly political lyrics: “All we wanted was a chance to talk, ‘stead we only got outlined in chalk / Feet have bled a million miles we’ve walked, revealing at the end of the day, the charade,” D’Angelo sings on “The Charade.” The Black Messiah’s track “1000 Deaths,” with its arrangement of the guitars, explores D’Angelo’s role in the society and actually will remind you of his Voodoo track “Devil’s Pie.” A significant amount of Black Messiah is about sex and love, and here we see the sensual D’Angelo again.
The wait is OVER! Take a listen to the album via Spotify below and let us know your thoughts.