After 14 years without a full-length album, D’Angelo’s Black Messiah was released Sunday (Dec. 14) just before midnight. The 12-track set is available via iTunes.
Black Messiah is soul and funk pushed to its very limit, the sound of a singer squeezing and warping the tropes of R&B in his effort to wring every ounce of meaning from them. D’Angelo and Questlove are noted fans of the hip-hop producer J Dilla; Questlove has fondly described his beats as “drunk” on several occasions. It’s hard to imagine beats more intoxicated than those on Black Messiah. The drums land like gun shots, sharp, weighty, and staggered. The bass is full and heavy but always dexterous, reaching back to the work of soul and funk legends — except their bass lines were never as pronounced and in your face. The low end here is violent, a force to be reckoned with.
Listen to his new single “Sugah Daddy,” below: