Thursday, May 21, 2009

Where is D'Angelo?

Do you remember that video by D’Angelo for his cut Untitled (How Does It Feel?). [Click link to get a taste.] You remember the one. He was all cut up and butt-naked and glistening with sweat and shit. The camera stopped just where his business began, and all the women around the world were all up on the screen trying to peek down like they were actually going to catch a glimpse of his manhood. Yeah, I was hatin’. But I wasn’t hatin’ enough to get up and go to the gym.

Well anyway, I looked up from my labor in the vineyard, and D’Angelo was missing. And as I do around this time every week, I set out to find him. Damn, people. I thought he was just taking a break, but it ain’t all good.

You know, I was really diggin’ on his CD’s, 1995’s Brown Sugar and 2000’s Voodoo, and after that video, his name was on everyone’s lips. But curiously, I didn’t see or hear from him until years later when I came across a picture of a very overweight, very raggedy D’Angelo reporting for a court hearing.

It appears D’Angelo has spent much of his time in the last few years going to court. He has had numerous run-ins with the law to include drunken driving, drug possession, assault, disturbing the peace, and even a couple stints in rehab. [Click here for a great article covering his last eight years]

It is reported that he has become almost a recluse. The last interview he gave was back in 2000. As far as new music is concerned, besides cameos on tracks by Common, Rapheal Saadiq, Snoop Dogg and other artists, and pre-packaged greatest hits stuff, there has been none. Insiders report that D’Angelo has indeed recorded endless hours of new music; however, most of what he has recorded remains unfinished. Lately, though, things seem to be looking up; numerous sources report that he is back in the studio making steady progress.

D’Angelo’s tremendous talent has always been more than evident. And certainly I find it very difficult to understand how someone with so much talent and potential can just let that talent and potential waste away. But it is impossible to look on the inside of a person and see the issues they may be dealing with or the pain they may simply be trying to overcome.

Certainly I look forward to more amazing music from D’Angelo, but for now I just hopes he does whatever he needs to do to heal. I collected a few of my favorite D’Angelo tracks below to include one with Rapheal Saadiq.


8 comments:

Kim said...

I loved me some D'angelo.. He was like my Baby Daddy back in the day...lol

Max Reddick said...

Yeah, it appears he was a baby daddy to lots of ladies. Literally. He got around.

boukman70 said...

"And certainly I find it very difficult to understand how someone with so much talent and potential can just let that talent and potential waste away."Oh yeah, I get that all the time.

But seriously, folks, a decade ago I thought D'Angelo and Badu were the last hopes for R&B. Now, I've pretty much just given up hope (I mean, seriously, whatever happened to R&B bands?!).

I'm thinking D'Angelo's at the point where Ellison must've been--that he's waited so long he feels he's bound to disappoint and is probably paralyzed by that feeling--which might explain all the uncompleted tracks he's recorded.

Max Reddick said...

Yeah, you're right. The need to please is definitely paralyzing. And often one's first work is their very best work. They put so much into it because they are trying to enter the arena. But when it comes to a second or third attempt they are creatively exhausted.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hi there!

I have never even heard this guy's music... I saw a photo of him nearly naked...I was not impressed...

Men who think that physicality defines masculinity are ....ummmm....er.... not the sharpest blades in the drawer...

kiss my black ads said...

wow never heard his music? D was on tack to be one of the greatest. I too think the brother was paralyzed by his own success. I also wonder why some artist first work is there best work. Maybe it's the pressure of the music industry. It seems most fine artist, painters, instrumentalist, etc. seem o get better as their career and time goes on. I guess fine artist live in a world of introspection and constant self reevaluation. I guess to be a 'pop' artist means to live, act & create as the 'pop'ulous sees fit.

boukman70 said...

Thomas Wolfe once said that an author has 25 years to write their first novel and then 2 or 3 years to write their second. And that's generally why there's a "sophomore slump."

I think most of the greats get better with age--and then fall off sometime later. I would much rather listen to Prince's fifth album, 1999, than his first, For You. The same holds true for Sly, Stevie, Funkadelic, the list goes on and on.

I think D'Angelo's and Badu's second efforts were better than their first. It's a shame that the man fell off. It's equally a shame that Badu didn't put out more albums when she was on top--but that's a gripe for another time.

Max Reddick said...

For the most part, I agree. But I'd like to add to that. After the first or second album, the greats are learning more about their craft and the business. Also, the greats, the truly talented, have a well-spring of material to draw from. If we use the example of Prince, that brother would put out three or four CD's a year if the record companies did not hold him back. Somewhere I read that he has a vault of material that hasn't even been released yet. Consider that Tupac kept putting out material long after his death.

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