Lost & Found Soul

Ten years and one day ago, D’Angelo released his second full-length studio album.

And for the foreseeable future, it also appears to be his last.

In the time since “Voodoo” hit the stores, on Jan. 25, 2000, D’Angelo has had very public struggles with alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and his improbable status as a sex symbol.

As such, there has been very little in the way of good news for D’Angelo or his legion of fans in the past decade. Spin magazine detailed the dismal situation about a year and a half ago:

D’Angelo hasn’t offered much to replace that image in the public’s mind since then. Eight and a half years after Voodoo‘s release, a follow-up remains little more than a rumor. He’s done no interviews since 2000 and refused repeated requests to talk for this story. A just-released greatest-hits package features him shirtless on the cover. Apart from scattered cameos on tracks by Common, Raphael Saadiq, and Snoop Dogg, D’Angelo’s only real public appearances have been in court to answer charges of drunken driving, drug possession, assault, and disturbing the peace, among others.

“I feel like there’s a book with a bookmark in it,” says (former manager Dominique) Trenier. “Two albums? That can’t be it for this guy. He’s got so much music in him.”

But does he really?

Over time – maybe it was a couple of years ago – I gave up waiting on the heavily anticipated third album, “James River.”

As of now, it’s nothing more than a tease.

It probably won’t happen, and it really doesn’t matter:  “Brown Sugar” and “Voodoo” in particular were a fair and generous offering for R&B and its aging fan base (e.g., me).

D’Angelo did more for the genre in little more than two hours of recorded music than guys like Jaheim, J Holiday and – swallows hard – Pleasure P could hope to do in 10,000.

Between “Brown Sugar” and “Voodoo,” I’ve got a soundtrack for all of the little pleasures: scrambling eggs on a Sunday morning, settling into the couch with a good book on Wednesday evening, taking a trip across town on the weekend and, ahem, setting the mood almost anytime.

For all of that and then some, I’m grateful.

D’Angelo has already exceeded my wildest expectations, and I didn’t realize it until it was over.

I have everything I ever needed. And I hope D’Angelo can say the same.

D’Angelo – Send It On
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Joel Anderson —blackink —  writes about sports, politics, crime, courts, and other issues far beyond his competence at BuzzFeed. He has worked at media outlets in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Atlanta and contributed to a number of publications, including The Root and The American Prospect, among many others.
  • http://evolutionflashback.blogspot.com Ash

    Last I saw, he gained all this weight. His rumored “James River” album was supposed to come out in ’09, we’re still waiting for it. I hope he’s gotten his life together because I’d love to hear new music from him. There aren’t that many great voices in R&B anymore.

  • http://community.afropunk.com/profiles/blog/list?user=194lwap3ugt9 Michael in LA

    Some singers only have one or two records in ’em. It can be hard to deal with when their hits were so stellar, but that is how it is. I don’t think you’ll hear anything good again from Lauryn Hill either… In this new I-Tunes era, I think we may see a lot of one hit/one album stars that fade quickly.

  • http://quinceminutos.wordpress.com R.

    I remember the ongoing complaints about his next album in the time before Voodoo came out. About how long D was making everybody wait for a new album, etc. Then BAM! We got hit with great music.

    Despite all his troubles, I’m really hoping this protracted absence of his will give us, if anything, your standard D’Angelo goodness. Brown Sugar and Voodoo are two albums that get steady rotation from me but I wouldn’t mind making room for one more.

  • soma lux

    Don’t give up on D’Angelo. Maybe he’s pulling a Sade and only dropping hits when he’s ready. He deserves our patience. His music is certainly worth it.
    Go listen to some:
    Bilal, http://www.soulculture.co.uk/blogs/video-bilal-levels-live-in-nyc/
    Jesse Boykins III, http://vimeo.com/2095468
    Jose James, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHNZy-9u2FU&feature=related
    Keziah Jones, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joOGT_5-CPw
    Foreign Exchange, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GplxJW8ez-w
    Yaw, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdkPKaJGRgk
    Khari Lemuel, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Z95US-QCX4&feature=related
    Osunlade, http://www.osunlade.net/osunlade.net/Music.html
    Siji, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiSRZUCxoBc&feature=related
    Omar, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ey4JoX8IUQk

    …in the mean time in between time. Have you all heard the Grammy nominated song, “All Matter” by Robert Glasper featuring Bilal??? It encompasses the best of Jazz, Soul and Hip Hop, it is definitely a new classic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iz274hVNj48 .

    Cut D’Angelo some slack, it takes years of pain to deliver that kind of beauty.

  • Ladyfresh

    He definitely was on my mind yesterday (all the tweets, facebooks, blogs also nudged me towards remembering).
    I think you said it well here:

    I have everything I ever needed. And I hope D’Angelo can say the same.

    He and his music is loved by his fans. I hope he can find some sort of peace in his life.

    now let me go dig up those albums

  • blackink12

    I find this an important time to mention that in addition to “Voodoo,” Erykah Badu released “Mama’s Gun” that year. Which, to me, makes it one of the best years for “neo-soul” on record.

    • Ladyfresh

      Who is Jill Scott came out that year as well. Awesome neo soul year.

  • soma lux

    Questlove posted a few NEW D’Angelo tracks on his Swift FM page….



  • soma lux