Results for D'Angelo

interviews

Common

This week on the show Jim and Greg meet with rapper Common, who happens to be visiting his hometown. Common is currently touring to promote his sixth (and, some would say, best) album, Be. Jim and Greg note that most hip-hop artists don‘t have his kind of longevity. In fact, Common is at an age where he has started to balance his career with fatherhood. Greg, who visited the set of Common’s sultry video shoot for the song "Go," asks him how he‘ll be able to present his more adult side to his daughter. Fans of Common’s videos should also check out his most recent, and most cinematic, "Testify."

Common actually performs "Testify" live for our hosts. This song was produced by longtime collaborator and fellow southsider Kanye West, and includes the producer's signature use of soul samples. For Be, Common also worked with ?uestlove of The Roots and rapper and producer J Dilla, who passed away just weeks before this interview. Dilla, or Jay Dee, has been a mainstay on the hip-hop scene, producing songs for De La Soul, Pharcyde, Janet Jackson, and D'Angelo. Dilla also worked with Common on Like Water For Chocolate, producing one of his biggest hits, "The Light." As Common explains, the loss of his friend and former roommate will be life-changing. And in his memory, the rapper does some freestyling over Dilla instrumentals — a first for Sound Opinions.

Go to episode 26
specials

Desert Island Jukebox

Frequently at the end of Sound Opinions, Jim and Greg add songs to the Desert Island Jukebox. This jukebox is filled with tracks that Jim and Greg would take with them if stranded on a desert island. They‘ve posed this same age-old rock question to many of their guests. In this episode you’ll hear the music that these artists say they can't live without:

  • Saul Williams: James Brown, Live at the Olympia
  • Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand: Leonard Cohen, The Songs of Leonard Cohen
  • Nick McCarthy of Franz Ferdinand: Neil Young, "Ohio"
  • Peaches: Prince, Purple Rain
  • Laurent Brancowitz of Phoenix: Serge Gainsbourg, Histoire de Melody Nelson
  • Thomas Mars of Phoenix: D'Angelo, Voodoo
  • Craig Finn of The Hold Steady: The Replacements, "I Will Dare"
  • Tad Kubler of The Hold Steady: Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti
  • Franz Nicolay of The Hold Steady: American Music Club, Mercury
  • Scott Hutchinson of Frightened Rabbit: The Hold Steady, Stay Positive
  • Grant Hutchinson of Frightened Rabbit: Bob Dylan, Planet Waves
  • Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips: John Lennon, "(Just Like) Starting Over"
Go to episode 213
reviews
Black MessiahBlack Messiah available on iTunes

D'Angelo Black Messiah

The enigmatic neo-soul revolutionary D'Angelo is back after 14 years underground with the surprise year-end release of Black Messiah, the follow-up to his triumphant 2000 album Voodoo. Greg couldn‘t be happier to utter the words“new D’Angelo album,”as the multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter is truly an R&B visionary. Black Messiah sounds like no other music out there. D‘Angelo’s meticulously layered and sensuous grooves aren‘t afraid of a little dirt and grime, which fit the record’s two overarching themes of love and war perfectly. Jim credits D'Angelo for being able to connect the dots within, and across, musical genres bringing the past into the present and pushing the present state of R&B into the future. The only problem either critic has with the album is that it came out after they made their best albums of the year lists, because Black Messiah is easily a contender for number one. An absolute Buy It for both Jim and Greg.

JimGreg
Go to episode 473
BLACKsummers'night (Deluxe Version)BLACKsummers'night available on iTunes

Maxwell BLACKsummers'night

After breaking out of the neo-soul movement along side Lauryn Hill and D'Angelo, singer Maxwell took an almost decade-long hiatus. Now he is back with BLACKsummers'night. Greg likes that he doesn‘t hear anything trendy on this record. It reminds him of artier soul albums from the late ’70s. The hooks aren‘t in abundance, but it’s got grit. Greg gives Maxwell a Buy It rating. Jim wishes he could be as enthusiastic. There are a couple of great songs, but for the most part he found the album sleepy. He wishes Maxwell threw a little more fire into BLACKsummers'night and gives it a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 189
On the Jungle FloorOn the Jungle Floor available on iTunes

Van Hunt On the Jungle Floor

R&B/soul singer Van Hunt also has a new album out. His 2004 self-titled debut album was very well-received — listeners could hear the funk influences of bands like Sly Stone and Curtis Mayfield, as well as the more romantic, slow jams of singers like Marvin Gaye or D'Angelo. (And with a pimp for a father and a nurturing caregiver as a mother, Greg muses, Van Hunt's own family parallels his musical influences'.) On On the Jungle Floor, Van Hunt stretches himself more. He makes the surprising choice to cover "No Sense of Crime," a punk classic by The Stooges. And, fans will hear the influence of yet another R&B/funk idol: Prince. However, both Jim and Greg assert that with this release, the grasshopper has surpassed the master, and rate On the Jungle Floor higher than Prince's new album 3121. It's a Buy It for both critics.

JimGreg
Go to episode 21
UndunUndun available on iTunes

The Roots Undun

After over a decade of music-making, Philadelphia quintet The Roots have earned a reputation as the best live band in hip hop. They've put out ten studio records, backed artists like D'Angelo and Erykah Badu, and rule the airwaves every night as Jimmy Fallon's house band. Has this caused the quality to drop off on the group's latest release Undun? Greg says not a bit. He named the record his second favorite of 2011 and he's not backing down. He especially wants to call out DJ Black Thought for some overdue props; Greg ranks him up there with Jay-Z. He says Buy it. Jim agrees, but unlike Greg, he's not loving the four-part classical suite that closes the album. It's beautiful, but out of place. In fact, the self-consciousness of the whole story underlying Undun - the rise and fall of a street kid - puts Jim off. It's a Buy It album, but not the band's best.

JimGreg
Go to episode 319
Def Mask - SingleDef Mask available on iTunes

Divine Styler Def Mask

R&B singer D'Angelo wasn't the only artist to emerge from an extended hiatus last month. Brooklyn rapper Divine Styler also returned with a surprise album in December. Def Mask is his first new dose of radical hip-hop in almost 15 years. The album steers clear of Styler's previous pseudo-psychedelic rhymes and rhythms. Instead, it charts a course for the stars joining the ranks of prominent musical Afrofuturists like George Clinton and Janelle Monae in creating a dense, sci-fi-laden sound. Styler's impressive wordplay takes a leery look at today's technology obsessed culture, but despite its dark, neo-noir tone, the album is able to maintain a certain amount of optimism throughout. Def Mask is an ambitious undertaking that is at times both unsettling and uplifting and it marks a celebrated return for Divine Styler. Both Jim and Greg say Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 476
The Fun Rises, the Fun Sets.The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets available on iTunes

Van Hunt The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets

Atlanta multi-instrumentalist Van Hunt has flirted with mainstream R&B success, but his genre-hopping tendencies have kept him from a wider audience. Jim thinks that's a shame, as his latest album The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets confirms that Van Hunt is one of the most innovative voices in neo-soul music along with Kendrick Lamar and D'Angelo. Jim sees both depth and joy in the record. The lascivious, erotically charged moments are naughty, yet never offensive. Van Hunt's musical prowess is on fine display, as he plays every instrument himself. Greg hears The Fun Rises as more narrowly focused than the previous album What Were You Hoping For? in a good way, showcasing a more uniform trippy funk style. For Greg, it's a record that works equally well for headphone listening as for dancing. Both critics give Van Hunt a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 496
Ain't Nobody Worryin'Ain't Nobody Worryin' available on iTunes

Anthony Hamilton Ain't Nobody Worryin'

Next up is a review of Ain‘t Nobody Worryin’, the new album from Anthony Hamilton. This R&B singer reminds both critics of classic vocalists like Bill Withers and Bobby Womack. While keeping his day job as a barber in in Charlotte, North Carolina, Hamilton began recording. He sang back-up for D'Angelo on his Voodoo our, and eventually caught the eye of mega-producer Jermaine Dupri during a Grammy performance honoring Stevie Wonder. While Greg initially objected to the lack of up-tempo songs, both he and Jim appreciate the quality of the songwriting and the substance of the lyrics. Therefore Ain‘t Nobody Worryin’ gets two Buy It ratings.

JimGreg
Go to episode 7
WildheartWild Heart available on iTunes

Miguel Wild Heart

Wild Heart is the third studio album from cutting edge R&B singer and songwriter Miguel. Miguel who is of both Mexican American and African American heritages, has always had a different approach to the R&B genre. While his first album was tinkered with by A&R folks, his last record was his coming-out party; displaying his affection for multiple genres and subject matter of an adult variety. On this third album, Wild Heart, Miguel continues his exploration into genre and sexuality. Jim thinks he comes from the school of thought of Marvin Gaye and D'Angelo, artists whose avant garde nature scared traditionalists. He gives this album a Buy It rating. Greg agrees and says the orchestration and the honest lyrics make this album one of his favorites of the year. He gives it a Buy It as well.

JimGreg
Go to episode 501
dijs

Greg

“Devil's Pie”D'Angelo

Recently Greg's been thinking about whatever happened to soul singer D'Angelo. He made what Greg would consider a masterful album in 2000. Voodoo put D'Angelo at the heart of the neo-soul movement, but that's the last we‘ve heard from him. Greg can’t explain the disappearance, but he can relive the singer's glory days with this week's Desert Island Jukebox song "Devil's Pie."

Go to episode 171
lists

The Best Songs of the Millennium - Mixtapes

Jim and Greg like to end every year with a good old-fashioned mixtape (presented as a new-fashioned mp3 stream). But this year they decided to go even further and compile their favorite songs of the entire decade. They pick highlights to play during this episode, and their entire playlists are below. You can also stream their full mixtapes:

Go to episode 214
rock doctors

Julie

For what has become a recurring segment on Sound Opinions, Jim and Greg again don their white lab coats and assume the role of Rock Doctors. This week's patient is Julie, a listener who needs Drs. Kot and DeRogatis to prescribe some new music for her ailing ears. Julie consumes a steady (and stale) diet of Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald and Lauryn Hill.

So, what do Jim and Greg prescribe to bring Julie into 2006?

Jim keys into how Julie appreciates Ella Fitzgerald's vocals and recommends L'Altra. He knows this is a risky (non-FDA) approved medication, but thought he'd go out on a limb and ask Julie to check out the latest album from the Chicago duo. His second remedy is D'Angelo's Voodoo. He knows Julie likes dense, layered R&B like that of Lauryn Hill and Stevie Wonder, and thinks Voodoo, though much darker and moodier, is one of the best R&B records made in the last decade.

Greg also keys into Julie's appreciation for songwriting and strong vocals, and gives her a dose of Jill Scott. He thinks that the patient will appreciate the way Scott describes the world and the way she playfully uses her voice. His second prescription is John Legend's debut album Get Lifted. Though Legend is often compared to singer/songwriters like Stevie Wonder, Greg thinks he brings that genre forward in a wonderful way.

A week later the patient returns to the Rock Doctors to let them know how she's progressing. While she appreciated the Jill Scott record, she found the songs almost too clever. Still, she wasn‘t completely turned off by this remedy, and also understood why Jim would prescribe her the D’Angelo — but that didn‘t really hit the spot. In fact, she completely forgot that she bought and listened to this album years ago. L’Altra overwhelmingly had the worst side effect. This patient can appreciate alternative medicine, but even a spoonful of sugar didn‘t help this album go down. By far the big winner of the bunch was John Legend’s Get Lifted; Julie loved this album. Sound Opinions hopes that it was just the right cure to keep her healthy and full of good, new music.

Go to episode 44
news

Music News

After recovering from the intense musical spectacle at this year's Superbowl, viewers were ready for the Grammy Awards. But, it seems 11% less viewers were ready. Those that tuned in witnessed Beck's surprise win for Album of the Year and the coronation of Sam Smith as pop music's new prince. But, they also had to sit through an out-of-left field tribute to ELO and bizarre performance pairings including Jessie J and Tom Jonesand Ed Sheeran and Herbie Hancock.

As always, Jim and Greg note that the collection of Grammy-winning tunes and albums does not provide an accurate picture of what was really the best of 2014. A better barometer has always been the Village Voice Pazz & Jop Poll of critics. This year's list includes D'Angelo, St. Vincent and even Taylor Swift. An even better barometer? Sound Opinions' Best Albums of 2014, of course!

Go to episode 481