D’Angelo’s ‘Black Messiah’: The Hottest Sound on the Net

Black Messiah

The Hottest Sound on the Net, January 2015

Much as the self-titled Beyoncé album dominated conversation a year ago, D’angelo’s surprise release of ‘Black Messiah’ was a big talking point in the music world this December. The sprawling, swirling psychedelia of the album recalls Sly Stone, Prince, Curtis Mayfield, even Hendrix in places and has had the critics in raptures. The LA Times called it “as vital as it is sublime”, while Pitchfork declared that “Black Messiah pulls together disparate threads few predecessors have had the smarts or audacity to unite.”

Interestingly, the album was recorded to two-inch tape, and the dense production is fascinating in places. ?estlove of The Roots has a hand in the production and you can see him discuss the album in a lecture he gave to Red Bull Music Academy way back in 2013 – “This album has taken eleven years to make, but the amazing thing about it, is that it still sounds like it came out tomorrow”. It is particularly interesting to see him discuss the ethos behind his drumming on the album; “What kind of drum beat have I never, ever played before?” The interview provides an intriguing window into the thought process behind a remarkable new album.

See the full lecture below (the D’Angelo album is discussed from 1:27:17).


Lecture: Questlove (New York, 2013) from Red Bull Music Academy on Vimeo.