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.