D’Angelo’s New Album ‘Black Messiah’ is Hailed as New Protest Music (Listen)

Posted By Urban News Hour | December 29, 2014

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Soul-Funk Singer D’Angelo’s debuts third studio album “Black Messiah “was released on December 15, 2014 and available online digitally at midnight through RCA records. After a 14 year hiatus, D’Angelo returns to the music scene with an acoustic anthemic protest album infused with a laid back swing.

Black Messiah is a classic conception of a deep-soul sit-in album crafted in an all-star roster musicians that sounds like it was recorded with analog techniques on a musical level of Marvin Gaye, with the influences of the Funkadelic sound of Sly and the Family Stone, not to mention” The Prince era” is highlight throughout the album, but would we call this album a protest album during the height of racial tension in America? A booklet released at the album’s listening party explained the meaning behind the title: “It’s about people rising up in Ferguson and in Egypt and in Occupy Wall Street and in every place where a community has had enough and decides to make change happen. It’s not about praising one charismatic leader but celebrating thousands of them.”


It’s clear, that D’Angelo had something to say about America’s recent racial strains. However, The Black Messiah album does not express a protest composition on every song. The albums dramatic devotion song ,“ Really Love” D’Angelo sings: When you call my name / When you love me gently / When you’re walking near me / Doo doo wah I’m in really love with you.

However, Black Messiah does probe into emancipation and protest. For example, D’Angelo paraphrases Shakespeare, singing that “a coward dies a thousand times / but a soldier only dies just once.” and on the track”1000 Deaths”, D’Angelo sings: “I can’t believe I can’t get over my fear / They’re gonna send me over the hill / Ah, the moment of truth is near.”

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Musican Questlove, who actually produced D’Angelo’s Voodoo Album, notated a lengthy call to action on Instagram: “I urge and challenge musicians and artists alike to push themselves to be a voice of the times that we live in … I really apply this challenge to ALL artists. We need new Dylans. New Public Enemys. New Simones.”

D’Angelo and The Vanguard delivered a great album despite the urgency to release an album that was prompted in part by D’Angelo’s reaction to a Ferguson Grand Jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson in the killing of unarmed Black teen Michael Brown.

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A European tour called, “The Second Coming”, was announced in November 2014. D’Angelo’s band, The Vanguard, will include drummer John Blackwell, bassist Pino Palladino, Jesse Johnson, Isaiah Sharkey, and keyboardist Cleo “Pookie” Sample.

The tour starts in Zurich on February 11, 2015 and will run through the beginning of March, finishing the European sprint in Brussels on March 7.

Listen to the full album below:

D’Angelo and The Vanguard – Ain’t That Easy


D’Angelo and The Vanguard – 1000 Deaths


D’Angelo and The Vanguard – The Charade


D’Angelo and The Vanguard – Sugah Daddy


D’Angelo and The Vanguard – Really Love


D’Angelo and The Vanguard – Back to the Future (Part I)


D’Angelo and The Vanguard – Till It’s Done (Tutu)


D’Angelo and The Vanguard – Prayer


D’Angelo and The Vanguard – Betray My Heart


D’Angelo and The Vanguard – The Door


D’Angelo and The Vanguard – Back to the Future (Part II)


D’Angelo and The Vanguard – Another Life


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