D’Angelo was one of those artists in the 90s that wanted to bring sexual depth and lyrical maturity to R&B. With 1995’s Brown Sugar, the world got something unparalleled in terms of sound and character. However, it was just the kind of début that could be the proverbial kiss of death for a burgeoning career.
While most fans were expecting Brown Sugar II, however, D’Angelo had to take a two year hiatus to combat writer’s block, a time in which he said he was dedicated to three things: “lifting weights, smoking weed, and writing music.” Never mind the fact that his then girlfriend, Angie Stone, had just given birth to a new baby boy.
With a new family and new outlook on writing, D’Angelo gave the world a splash of something unexpectedly dark and thick, 2000s Voodoo. Each track has a layered chocolate quality that coats the back of the throat with a sort of velvet spiciness. It’s an album of experiences, raw and emotional.
It’s also sonically complex and technically ambitious. Some of the tracks offer prose-like introspection, while others are simply well-crafted tunes. With producer/drummer ?uestlove at the helm and guest writer and producer Raphael Saadiq, it’s no wonder the album threw most fans of D’s first effort for a loop.
However, I was physically and emotionally involved in everything D’Angelo had to offer after that point.