I’m hoping that this series of posts where we post a few thoughts concerning seminal recordings a decade or two or three after release, will be prime for discussion.

The reason that I make this request is that often as I travel around cyberspace no matter the forum or social network the comments and conversations of remaining the same: “They don’t make music like that anymore.”

Ever since I was a wee lad much to the chagrin of my mother I always questioned who are they and why do they say or do or don’t do certain things? I often reasoned that they must be very powerful. Until I realized that they=us and we (to borrow a line from “Ben”). Yes let thou criticism doth pummel down upon me from Mt. Olympus. Please realize that obviously if I use the terms “us and we” I am just a complicit as anyone else. I will expound upon this diatribe in much more detail at another date. Onto discussing Voodoo sheesh…


Released on January 11, 2000 Voodoo was the follow-up to 1995’s Brown Sugar. In essence, the importance of this follow-up recording cannot be underestimated. Everyone fears the “sophomore jinx” but imagine the pressure when you are identified as the creator of an entire sub-genre of music.

Before 1995 and the release of Brown Sugar save for a few acts, ok maybe two, the R&B landscape was a synth-heavy, lockstep drum machine beat affair. Harmonically there were a few interesting acts, but this music was different, it was stripped down, organic and emotional, yet familiar and new at the same time. How do you follow that? How do you in a sense best yourself? Must be difficult but I would say that in no uncertain terms Voodoo stands on its own merit.

In my opinion, the music here on Voodoo is even more organic than Brown Sugar and with a cast of incredible collaborators, (everyone from ?uestlove to J-Dilla, Roy Hargrove, Lauryn Hill, Q-Tip and on and on…) the recording moves from the realm of a production into the realm of music. I think this is what has often separated what D’Angelo has done in his recorded output: The emphasis is on great music and a great performance and then the production takes care of itself.

Unfortunately, sometimes I believe that we can become victims of our own success when the message gets lost in translation. As I stated earlier I believe the music was always the consideration but what happens when suddenly the celebrity supersedes the music? I would love to hear your thoughts on this record and the artistry of D’Angelo in general. Most importantly where are we musically ten years later?

Very special update New Music from D’Angelo listen here.

Yeah I know you thought that I was going to post that video…nah, enjoy this one.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.