Did any of you read that D'Angelo piece in SPIN? If not, don't, because then you will feel guilty. You see, when D'Angelo did his naked "Untitled" video, people all of a sudden thought he was a sex symbol. Then, at his concerts, women (and maybe the occasional Uncle Spanky) would scream for him to "Take it off!!!" like the funky breakdown to a 2 Live Crew song. D'Angelo--unlike so many women that are actually able to deal with objectification without having a breakdown of sorts--had a breakdown of sorts. The whole "Untitled" thing was supposed to be a one-shot deal, but it worked so many of us into a sweaty, animalistic frenzy that it overshadowed his art. Shame on us! Because Voodoo was a masterpiece. The kind of funky, spiritual and provocative work we yearn for artists to deliver but they never do, because they are obsessed with things like attention, "paper" and their physiques.
But this is a very serious matter. We want to think that when we call upon artists to deliver music that is substantial and moving, we would give it a chance based on its own merits. This is the heart and soul of the article. Of course we hold our artists to a certain standard (we should), but standards and expectations are two entirely different things and all expectations do are pave the way for disappointment and self-loathing. ?uestlove will thrill you with some of his insights into how the expectations and conditioning of the audience play a hand in why artists like D'Angelo and Lauryn are so tortured; and how Hip Hop is a minstrel show right now! Also, how the Black community, specifically, has validated certain artists on everything but their art. Amen, and thank you, SoulBounce, for performing the Lord's work everyday!
Supposedly, D'Angelo is back in shape, perhaps not like in "Untitled" shape, but certainly less fat and less mangy than in the mugshot. And, he's worked on some songs! So that's progress. But I won't be holding my breath for his record anytime soon. He and Maxwell are like Bigfoot and The Loch Ness Monster these days. (I suspect they revel in that.) Provided some new material does drop and it's label-sanctioned, I want D to keep his clothes on, because some of you need to listen before you look. The only way he can save himself is if he saves us in the process.
Body & Soul [SPIN]