Artist of the week: D’Angelo
Of all the figures that founded and leaded the so-called neo-soul movement, which favored down-to-earth 70s production rather than 90s slickness and was appalled by the excesses of late-90s hip-hop and R&B, D’Angelo has always been the most elusive, coherent and fascinating one. After releasing Brown Sugar in 1995, it had already took him five years to surpass his groundbreaking debut with his sophomore effort and even though Voodoo has steadily become the most celebrated R&B record of his era, even surpassing classics such as Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite (1996), Erykah Badu’s Baduizm (1997) or Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation (1998), it is pretty hard to understand how such a creative composer, skillful performer and meticulous producer needed fourteen years to release his third record. After listening to D’Angelo and The Vanguard’s Black Messiah one feels compelled to not only excuse his lengthy exile but also to halt all the furious digital medial landscape around us in order to listen to this truly timeless collection of beautifully crafted, politically conscious and soulfully delivered songs.
João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.