d’angelo releases voodoo follow-up

Q-Tip and Questlove both feature on Black Messiah

by Stuart Brumfitt
15 December 2014, 12:55pm

Greg Harris

It's a full 14 years since D'Angelo released killer album Voodoo (which followed his debut, Brown Sugar) and let the world admire his perfectly honed, naked body in the Untitled (How Does It Feel) video. Since then he's gone off the radar, ballooned in size, threatened new material, slimmed down and done only the occasional show. So it's with sheer amazement that today he announced a new album, Black Messiah, with his band The Vanguard, alongside Questlove, Q-Tip and Kendra Foster.

It's an album to showcase high quality musicianship ("No digital 'plug-ins' of any kind were used in this recording. All of the recording, processing, effects and mixing was done in the analog domain using tape and mostly vintage equipment.")

In the album's foreword, D'Angelo explains the title, "Black Messiah is a hell of a name for an album. It can be easily misunderstood. Many will think it's about religion. Some will jump to the conclusion that I'm calling myself a Black Messiah. For me the title is about all of us. It's about the world. It's about an idea we can all aspire to. We should all aspire to be a Black Messiah. It's about people rising up in Ferguson and in Egypt and in Occupy Wall Street and everyplace where a community has had enough and decides to make change happen. It's not about praising one charismatic leader but celebrating thousands of them. Not every song on this album is politically charged (though many are) but calling this album Black Messiah creates a landscape where these songs can live to the fullest. Black Messiah is not one man. It's a feeling that, collectively, we are all that leader."


Photography Greg Harris

Black Messiah