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D’Angelo to debut new ‘Black Messiah’ album at NYC listening session

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Back in June, music industry veteran Kevin Liles promised that this day was coming and it looks like it’s finally here.

After 14 long, torturous years and a number of false starts and missed deadlines, D’Angelo is finally ready to release the follow up to 2000’s classic Voodoo album, entitled Black Messiah.

The “Brown Sugar” singer will play the album in its entirety at a New York City listening session hosted by writer and cultural critic, Nelson George, Sunday, Dec. 14, and according to a tweet by Kanye West, the album will drop Tuesday, Dec. 16.

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When talking with George about neo-soul music last spring, D’Angelo hinted about the possible musical direction fans might expect.

“I respect [the term] for what it is, but anytime you put a name on something, you just put it in a box,” D’Angelo said. “You want to be in a position where you can grow as an artist. You never want to be told, ‘Hey, well, you’re a neo-soul artist.’ Right now, I’m not. We’re going someplace else.”

Album collaborator Questlove also put out a warning to fans that this album will sound much different from anything else D’Angelo has released thus far:

“He is about to take a radical 180 [degree] turn with this record. It’s going to throw people off the same way that Prince’s Dirty Mind threw his R&B fan base off. In the past few years, he’s discovered Bowie and Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Pet Sounds, Captain Beefheart and Zappa. 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. 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.”

One thing is for sure: If Black Messiah does drop shortly as we are being led to believe, fans across the world are sure to welcome D’Angelo back to the forefront of the music scene with open arms.