Collection: 9. D’Angelo & the Vanguard - Black Messiah

After he released 2000’s steamy soul classic Voodoo, D’Angelo went into freefall, reeling from addiction, a near-fatal car crash, and the deleterious psychological consequences of starring in the thirst-trap video for “Untitled (How Does It Feel).” Black Messiah served as evidence that his decade-and-a-half sabbatical also brought about creative maturation. Played by the Vanguard band, the album’s painstakingly crafted R&B fusion veers from the twitchy groove of “Ain’t That Easy” to the Pointer Sisters-ish jazz-bop of “Sugah Daddy” to the delicate guitar balladry of “Really Love.” D’Angelo’s muffled falsetto obscures the lyrics of songs like “1000 Deaths” and “The Charade,” but on those tracks, he wades deep into issues like police brutality, putting the album in conversation with Kendrick Lamar’s activist classic To Pimp a Butterfly and the era’s #BlackLivesMatter concerns. Like one of those rare, exotic plants that only blooms every decade, D’Angelo only seems to gift us with a new album once a generation or two. But he always feels right on time. –Jason King
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  • D'ANGELO AND THE VANGUARD - BLACK MESSIAH VINYL
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