Black Messiah is the third studio album by American recording artist D’Angelo. It was released on December 15, 2014, through RCA Records, bringing an end to his 14-year hiatus.
Black Messiah was among 2014′s most highly anticipated albums and was released to commercial success. The album was also met with rave reviews from music critics, who praised the album’s socially relevant lyrics and its use of multiple genres. The album was ranked as one of the best albums of 2014 by several publications. The album debuted at number five on the U.S.Billboard charts and number one on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, selling over 117,000 units in its first week. Black Messiah was promoted with the release of the single “Really Love” and a tour called The Second Coming.
D’Angelo released his critically acclaimed album Voodoo in 2000. Towards the end of his worldwide tour in support of the album that same year, D’Angelo had personal issues towards performing that worsened. He became more conscious of and uncomfortable with his status as something of a sex symbol, and after the tour D’Angelo returned to his home in Richmond, Virginia, disappearing from the public eye.Following the suicide of his close friend, MTV-affiliate Fred Jordan, in April 2001, he started to develop a drinking problem. As his alcoholism escalated, plans for a live album and a Soultronics studio effort, both originally set for after the tour, were scrapped, and impatient Virgin executives cut off funding for the expected 2004 solo album.
By 2005, D’Angelo’s girlfriend had left him, his legal attorney had become displeased with him, and most of his family was not in touch with him. He also parted ways with manager Dominique Trenier and tour manager Alan Leeds. After a car accident and an arrest on DUI and marijuana possession charges, D’Angelo left Virgin Records in 2005 and checked into the Crossroads Centre rehabilitation clinic in Antigua. In 2005, his recording contract was acquired by J Records, following rumors of D’Angelo signing to Bad Boy Records. Despite no solo output, D’Angelo collaborated with some R&B and hip hop artists during his period between albums, appearing on other albums such as J Dilla‘s The Shining (2006), Snoop Dogg‘s Tha Blue Carpet Treatment (2006), Common‘s Finding Forever (2007), and Q-Tip‘s The Renaissance (2008).
In its first week of release, Black Messiah debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 and sold 117,000 copies in the United States. In its second week, the album dropped to number twenty five on the chart and sold another 40,254 copies. In the United Kingdom, it debuted at number 47 on the UK Albums Chart with first-week sales of 7,423 copies.
D’Angelo is supporting Black Messiah with a tour called The Second Coming. His band, The Vanguard, includes drummer Chris Dave, bassist Pino Palladino, guitarists Jesse Johnson and Isaiah Sharkey, vocalist Kendra Foster and keyboardist Cleo “Pookie” Sample. The European leg commenced in Zurich on February 11, 2015, and concluded in Brussels on March 7.