D’Angelo is one of those rare artists to have everything that the public believes a true genius should have. Incredible talent, incredible demons, incredible stories, and a sort of underdog quality that everyone roots for. After years of being out of the public’s eye, he’s finally coming back around, and most importantly, he’s making music again.
GQ has a great piece on D’Angelo. It’s a worth while read for anyone who’s wondered where he’s been and why a man with so much talent could stay silent for so long. Excerpts below:
He was once hailed as the next Marvin Gaye. Then, after his ripped body threatened to overshadow his music, he vanished into addiction …
What finally made him see, he says, was the passing of J Dilla, the revered hip-hop producer, on February 10, 2006. They’d just talked on the phone, D’Angelo says, when suddenly, J Dilla was gone at 32 after a long battle with lupus. It was like a blinding light had been switched on. Why did so many black artists die so young? He’d been haunted by this thought for years. Marvin. Jimi. Biggie. “I felt like I was going to be next. I ain’t bullshitting. I was scared then,” he says, recalling how shame engulfed him, preventing him from attending the funeral. “I was so fucked-up, I couldn’t go.”
Questlove believes D’s “eleven-year freeze” must end, not just for the artist’s sake, but for the culture’s. “I’ve told him: He is literally holding the oxygen supply that music lovers breathe,” Questlove says. “At first, it was cute—’Oh, he’s bashful.’ But now he’s, like, selfish. I’m like, ‘Look, dude, we’re starving.’ When D starts singing, all is right with the world.”
…..the video would be the only thing many fans remembered. “The video was the line of demarcation,” says Harris. “It sent him spinning out of control.”
…a lot of motherfuckers, they just fall right into line.” D has a term for artists like this: “minstrelsy.” If he’s learned nothing, he’s learned this: He’s no minstrel. (Read more at GQ)