D'Angelo Announces Listening Session, Release Date for 'Black Messiah'

Nearly 15 years ago, D'Angelo released his groundbreaking R&B album, Voodoo, and disappeared. Now it looks like he's back and he'll finally release his long-awaited follow-up, Black Messiah.

The album was announced via 16 second video trailer posted by D'Angelo's manager, Kevin Liles. Even ?uestlove was even dropping hints a week earlier. Long rumored to be titled "James River," the highly anticipated album will instead be titled "Black Messiah", with his band The Vanguard sharing top billing. The album is set for a December 16 release.

The listening event is sponsored by the Red Bull Music Academy and Afropunk and takes place Sunday, Dec. 14th, in New York City. The event will be hosted by Nelson George, who also interviewed D'Angelo this year at the Brooklyn Museum. He'll play the completed album, Black Messiah, in its entirety.

In January 2013, ?uestlove told Billboard that D'Angelo's album was "99 percent done." "I would not be far off by saying this is probably my generation's version of Sly [and the Family Stone's] There's a Riot Goin' On," the drummer said. "It's potent. It's funky. It's an extremely hard pill to swallow. It's going to take you about 10 years to digest this record...Totally brilliant. Just the way this society works with music...being able to judge if something is a classic after the first listen, you can do that after 30 seconds on this. And the fact that we started this record in 2004, and it still sounds like it came out five years from now, it is a testament to the timelessness of it."

In a June interview, Liles said that the Bonnaroo show inspired D'Angelo to want to finish the album. "He very bluntly put it, 'Kev, the studio and the stage: that's my lifeblood. Now that I've touched it again, now that I see it again, I wanna be sure that the baby I'm about to have – the album – that I take it to the point where it's all it can be.'"

In November, D'Angelo announced a 13-city European tour kicking off in February 2015. Cross your fingers we get another announcement with some US tour dates next.


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