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After His Fans Wait Breathlessly For 14 Years, D’Angelo Finally Releases His New Album ‘Black Messiah’

After announcing last week that a new album was in the works, D’Angelo surprised fans by quickly releasing “Black Messiah” last night.

The album is the first since the singer’s “Voodoo” in 2000.

In a pamphlet that was handed out at the album’s listening session in New York City sponsored by Red Bull Music Academy and Afropunk, D’Angelo discussed the meaning behind the album’s controversial title.

“Black Messiah’ is a hell of a name for an album,” the artist wrote. “It can be easily misunderstood. Many will think it’s about religion. Some will jump to the conclusion that I’m calling myself a Black Messiah. For me, the title is about all of us. It’s about the world. It’s about an idea we can all aspire to. We should all aspire to be a Black Messiah.”

He went on to describe its political importance.

“Its 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 not about praising one charismatic leader but celebrating thousands of them. Not every song on the album is politically charged (though many are), but calling this album ‘Black Messiah’ creates a landscape where these songs can live to the fullest. ‘Black Messiah’ is not one man. Its a feeling that, collectively, we are all that leader.”

Many were surprised by the release of this timely album, as the “Brown Sugar” singer is no stranger to false promises.

Rumors of a new album started in April 2005 when fans on message boards started claiming they had heard new music. In September 2008, D’Angelo released “I Found My Smile Again,” which was his first hit in years and his manager told Billboard that he was “coming back.”

Then in December 2011, Questlove talked with “Pitchfork” about D’Angelo, saying “For all intents and purposes, this album is the black version of [The Beach Boys’] Smile. There’s stuff on there I was amazed at, like new music patches I’ve never heard before.”

According to Quest, the album was “97 percent done.”

The rumors continued, one almost every year with “Sugar Daddy” and “The Charade” being released while on tour and more false promises.

But the timing for this album could not be more perfect.

“All we wanted was a chance to talk / ’stead we only got outlined in chalk,” are just a few of the eerily relevant lyrics on the album’s “The Charade.”

“There are a lot of narratives about D’Angelo’s career,” said author Nelson George, who hosted the listening party, according to The Root. “The man is speaking to the times we live in.”

 

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