A Work of Collective Genius (my review of D’Angelo’s Black Messiah)

D'Angelo _ Black Messiah

Go get this album right now!!!


I’ve been listening to D’Angelo’s BLACK MESSIAH for the last few days and pretty much nothing else. The music. The poetry. Lyrics for soul searching. Rhythms for toe tapping and head nodding. Politics to pillow talk. Love and war. Protest and peace. Before you know it, you’re not even listening to the album anymore. You’re participating. Humming, possibly, and singing along with the dope harmonies. Imitating the rugged guitar riffs. Wiggling your fingers to the crisp piano chords and runs. You’re in it now—just part of the band and in a sense…a part of history.

There’s a line in AIN’T THAT EASY that I think Uncle Snoop would be proud of: “Take a toke of smoke from me as you dream inside/ Let your days slip away come with me and ride.” I could see him dancing to this, holding up a bag of kush perhaps. 1000 DEATHS starts with this agitated guitar 16th notes that just beat your ears with no rhyme or reason. And I don’t know, man, it just works! The lyrics to this joint are so profound, though. Mixed with the beat, it makes a potent potion that stirs you—strengthens the soldier in you. SUGAR DADDY is just plain, ole fun music. That piano riff? Come on, doc! GENIUS!!! I could go on and on about every track. But for brevity, I’ll end with the final track: ANOTHER LIFE (which is my favorite on the album). The lyrics on this joint? I’m feeling this one. To me, it’s about a woman you’ve always been with, even before you knew her, even before you were you and she was she. Your atoms and her atoms were destined to harmonize and nothing in the universe could prevent it. Because, in fact, the universe was rooting for the union. It needed it just as bad as you.

It’s safe to say that BLACK MESSIAH is the work of collective geniuses with lyrics by D’Angelo, Kendra Foster, Kamaal Fareed and music by D’Angelo, Questlove, Pino Pallidino (A BEAST on Bass) and James Gadson. But please, please, please don’t take my word for it. Buy it today and see for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.


About jamesfantbooks

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