D'Angelo

Prince Relation:

Follower

Style:

Soul

Poplife Pick:

"Brown Sugar" (1995)

Links:

D'Angelo @ okayplayer.com
www.allmusic.com

Additional Notes:

D'Angelo is not only influenced, he's a genuine Prince fan. Just like his idol, D is an autodidact type of musician, being able to play many instruments. He's even mentioned in a Prince song ("Undisputed" from "Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic") and if we're lucky there will be a future collaboration.

Poplife Pick: "Brown Sugar" (1995)

By the mid-'90s, most urban R&B had become rather predictable, working on similar combinations of soul and hip-hop, or relying on vocal theatrics on slow seductive numbers. With his debut album, Brown Sugar, the 21 year-old D'Angelo crashed down some of those barriers. D'Angelo concentrates on classic versions of soul and R&B, but unlike most of his contemporaries, he doesn't cut and paste older songs with hip-hop beats; instead, he attacks the forms with a hip-hop attitude, breathing new life into traditional forms. Not all of his music works - there are several songs that sound incomplete, relying more on sound than structure. But when he does have a good song - like the hit "Brown Sugar," Smokey Robinson's "Cruisin'," aor the bluesy "Shit, Damn, Motherfucker," among several others - D'Angelo's wild talents are evident. Brown Sugar might not be consistently brilliant, but it is one of the most exciting debuts of 1995, giving a good sense of how deep D'Angelo's talents run. -- Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide