Photo Credit: Jesper SkouboellingD’Angelo’s Black Messiah wasn’t released just to appease his eager fans, the release serves in part as the singer’s response to the ongoing protests, stemming from two recent cases of police officers killing unarmed civilians: Staten Island resident Eric Garner and Ferguson, Missouri teen Michael Brown.
After learning that grand juries failed to return indictments in both cases, the crooner decided to expedite the release of his first studio effort in 14 years, moving it forward from its planned 2015 release date, according to The New York Times. “The one way I do speak out is through music,” D’Angelo told his tour manager, Alan Leeds. “I want to speak out.”
D’Angelo’s longtime studio engineer and mixer, Russell Elevado, revealed that they completed the project only about three weeks ago. “It’s pretty much right out of the oven — it’s still hot,” he said.
Although he used the same stealthy release technique that Beyonce used for her self-titled album last year, but the expedited release was more about catching the mood of the times than copying Bey. “Of course, she started something with that, but this couldn’t be more different in terms of the record,” says Peter Edge, chief executive of RCA Music Group. “That was a ‘visual album’; this is a musical album.” Edge added, “it’s really caught the zeitgeist of what’s going on.”
As previously reported, D’Angelo’s Black Messiah is expected to sell 95,000 to 100,000 copies in its opening week.