D’Angelo has been credited as the musician who ignited the neo-soul movement in the late 90s. His jazzy hip-hop infused debut, Brown Sugar, became a modern classic because of his silky vocals paired with smooth instrumentals. The Virginia native cemented his soul brotha status with the release of his sophomore effort, Voodoo. D’Angelo’s second project was voted one of the best albums of all time by almost every music and entertainment publication known to man.
Since D’Angelo is working on his third album with The Roots and others, The Urban Daily decided to look back at the songs that endeared him to music audiences around the world. Here are D’Angelo’s top 10 songs. What songs didn’t make the list that should have? Let us know in the comments.
10. Your Precious Love
D’Angelo hooked up with his Soulaquarian sister, Erykah Badu, for a remake of this Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell classic. Although nothing can top the original, these two deserve respect. The then reigning king and queen of neo-soul sing as though there were actual feelings behind the lyrics. Don’t quote us on that because we’re not ones to gossip.
9. U Will Know
In the early 90s, D’Angelo was a little known singer/songwriter. He was signed to EMI Records where he sat on the shelf until he penned a song that would find its way onto the Jason’s Lyric Soundtrack. “U Will Know” saw the who’s who of 90s R&B men, collectively known as Black Men United, singing about standing tall and holding steadfastly to dreams in the face of opposition. The track went on become a top 10 hit on the Billboard charts in 1994 and also a staple tune for every black church’s Men’s Day.
8. Be Here
By the time Raphael Saadiq recruited D’Angelo for this song, fans had been waiting for Voodoo’s follow up for two years. Instead of quieting demands for a new album, D’Angelo’s appearance on “Be Here” only intensified his fans’ anticipation. “Be Here” wasn’t a massive hit, however, it does have a timeless groove. Plus these two multi-instrumentalists on the same track was a neo-soul fan’s wet dream. The reality certainly didn’t disappoint.
7. Send It On
This bedroom jam dealt with themes of honesty and faith in a loving relationship. It was co-written by then girlfriend Angie Stone and featured Roy Hargrove on the flugelhorn. D’Angelo flexes his best Prince falsetto. His voice set against the languid bass line is sheer perfection. While the younger people knocked boots to the risque sounds of “Untitled,” older heads let “Send It On” charm their ladies out of the Vicky Secrets. If you haven’t done the same, you have officially lost. (Peep Anthony Hamilton doing background vocals in the video.)
6. Devil’s Pie
DJ Premier laced D’Angelo with one of his signature hard hitting beats with impeccable scratching. With a Preemo special as the foundation, the soul crooner got socially conscious on “Devil’s Pie.” When asked about the recording, Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson said “Devil’s Pie” was penned to address the issues of “the money hungry jiggafied state of the world we’re in.” Mission accomplished.
5. Nothing Even Matters
From the opening ad-libs, you’re instantly ready to listen to Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo tell you what does and doesn’t matter when you’re inside love’s grasp. The pair sang about forsaking work, the hair and nail salon, and basketball in order to be with that special love. “Nothing Even Matters” made me hope and pray for the day L Boogie and D’Angelo would get their Ashford & Simpson on and write and record an album. Those dreams were dashed when she went crazy and he fell off the face of the earth. They’re both back now so a brother can still dream, right?
4. Brown Sugar
D’Angelo’s debut single sparked the neo-soul genre. Its retro vibe drummed up memories of Marvin Gaye and Al Green with a modern twist. The best thing about “Brown Sugar” is how you interpret the lyrics. Depending on what you’re into, this song can be about getting a woman’s most precious gift or smoking a blunt. No, marijuana isn’t brown, but why would his eyes be bloodshot red after after making love?! Plus, he met her in Philly (Phillie Blunt Wraps) and he gets high off her love? You don’t have to be a pothead to know what’s up.
3. Me And Those Dreamin’ Eyes of Mine
The funky organ-driven cut is all about romance. The soul man wonders if the woman he fantasizes about is as perfect in real life as she is in his dreams. D’Angelo was stealing some guys’ ladies with lyrics like, “Ooh wee baby, you’ve redefined my vision of love it seems/Your love be da cherry in my chocolate covered dreams/So it seems, my oh my/Me and those dreaming eyes of mine.” If D’Angelo bedded your shorty, I’m not sure he’s going to be too apologetic about it.
Co-written and produced by Raphael Saadiq, “Lady” was a lover’s plea for their mate to be comfortable in the relationship. D’Angelo reassures his woman there is no other woman for him because she is perfect as she is. “Lady” is the joint that took the Brown Sugar album from an overlooked debut to a much ballyhooed hit album. Let’s not forget the remix with AZ. That was ill too.
1. Untitled (How Does It Feel)
Besides the R&B star being naked as the day he was born, “Untitled” stimulated even the most prudish with those lyrics. Take a look at them. He didn’t look like he was getting fellatio in the video because he thought it looked good. D’Angelo’s wails matched the passion and sweaty sex dripping off the record. This is going to make me sound like a real hater, but I choose not to care. I was a little glad when pics surfaced of D’Angelo being chunky. So when my girl asks why I don’t have D’Angelo’s body, I can point to a recent picture and confidently say that I already do.