The unjust deaths of unarmed black men Mike Brown and Eric Garner not only sparked protests, but also moved D’Angelo enough to unexpectedly drop his long awaited third album, Black Messiah.
According to The New York Times, the “Brown Sugar” crooner was inspired to release his album as a response to the protests regarding the killings of unarmed black men across America. He put in a month’s worth of all-nighters to put together the tracklist and design the artwork so he could rush its release. His RCA Records label executives didn’t even hear the album before it dropped; they heard it along with others at its release party last week (Dec. 14) in New York City.
Black Messiah, which was supposed to be released in 2015, followed the Beyonce method of dropping a surprise album. It didn’t have a month-long promo run nor did it have a first single to appease the radio. When it came to recording it, D’Angelo went old-school and recorded the 12-track effort on 200 reels of tape instead of digitally, which is “more than most budgets for entire projects,” his engineer and mixer Russell Elevado told the Times.
Purchase D’Angelo’s Black Messiah here.