"Black Messiah is a Hell of a name for an album. It can easily be misunderstood. Many will think it's about religion. Some will jump to the conclusion that I'm calling myself a Black Messiah," illusive Neo-Soul/Funk singer D'Angelo explained in a statement at his Sunday night Red Bull Music Academy & Afropunk-hosted listening party. "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... Black Messiah is not one man. It's a feeling that, collectively, we are all that leader," he powerfully continued. Black Messiah, once tentatively titled "James River," has been in-the-works for nearly 15 years; imminent release details suddenly began to trickle out over the course of this past weekend. While a brief 16-second Black Messiah teaser trailer first surfaced Friday afternoon, 1,000 downloads of piano-laden comeback single "Sugah Daddy" became available as part of Red Bull Music's 20 Before 15 series at 3:00am Sunday morning. Seemingly referring to the fact that D'Angelo and prouder-buddy ?uestlove have continually teased the completion of his third album since around 2011-12, okayplayer lamented: "For all those nonbelievers, here's 15 years of "I told ya so" rolled into one of the finest (and fawnkiest) sonic specimens you'll come across for ages." Following D'Aneglo's triumphant return to form at Bonaroo 2012, ?uestlove told Rolling Stone, "he's about to take a radical 180 turn with this record," upon citing recently discovered Classic Rock luminaries David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Captain Beefheart, and Frank Zappa as influences.
okayplayer Editor-In-Chief, Eddie "STATS"' listening party track-by-track review seems to allude to the fact that tracks #1-5 of the 12-track affair are all single contenders; while "Side B is truly the b-sides. Where the former is composer off all single-status cuts, the flip is made up of deeper and somewhat darker cuts." Its cast of characters includes Q-Tip and Funkadelic member Kendra Foster, who both contributed lyrics, as well as longtime collaborator Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, bassist Pino Palladino, and drummer James Gadson, according to a leaked lyric sheet after said Red Bull Music Academy listening party, Black Messiah saw a no frills, virtually promotion-less Beyoncé-style digital release at the stroke of 12 midnight Monday morning, while a CD/2LP release is rumored for next week (maybe even as early as Tuesday 12/16). But for those awaiting Black Messiah's digital release, not unlike myself, the full 12-track album, once referred to as "the black version of [The Beach Boys'] SMiLE," is now available for your listening pleasure on streaming platform, Spotify. "I never made a purchase off iTunes, but tonight I'll be purchasing that D'Angelo Black Messiah. Brown Sugar and VOODOO made me who I am," rapper @ActionBronson affectionately proclaimed upon his purchase.