D’Angelo’s Engineer Says Black Messiah Shied Away From Jam Sessions
D’Angelo’s long-awaited comeback album has barely been out a week and soul stans are still digesting the masterful Black Messiah, digging into the intricacies and behind-the-scenes stories. The album’s engineer, Russell Elevado, adds to the conversation via a recent interview with Billboard. The longtime D’Angelo collaborator spoke on the difference between the creative process of Voodoo—greatly spawned by jam sessions—and the more insular Black Messiah.
“It felt like he wanted to do something that was more him and less collaborative, just to see where he can go with it, where he’s not always feeding off other musicians,” Elevado said of D’s third studio LP, adding that “Another Life,” and “Till It’s Done (Tutu),” were products of jams. “Even from the initial recordings straight after Voodoo in 2001, it was a lot of him solo in the studio. He’d jump on the drums, then he’d jump on the guitar, then the bass.”
As for tracks left on the cutting room floor, the veteran boardsman says there were only a few scraps: “I wouldn’t say fully finished. There were a few that were pretty close that didn’t make it on. Then there were a ton of sketches that were done.”
Lupe Fiasco and will.i.am Defend Iggy Azalea, Iggy Calls Q-Tip “Patronizing”
While Iggy Azalea has quickly become a living, breathing, twerking (ugh) manifestation of everything that’s wrong with modern-day hip-hop, hardly everyone in the rap space has shunned her. After the Aussie rapper was chewed out by Azalea Banks and schooled by Q-Tip, will.i.am came to Iggy’s defense on Twitter yesterday: “Hip-hop is global now… it doesn't matter if you’re White or Black… thanks for contributing & spreading our culture positively.”
More surprising was Lupe Fiasco’s vote of confidence. “Iggy has a place in HipHop… her place,” he typed via Twitter. Hours later, with his mentions apparently on life support, Lupe ranted against the detractors. “I’m Uncle Tom [cause] some I told some White b*tch that her pu**y popping songs had a place in Hip-Hop? You outta yo fu**ing mind.”
As for that hip-hop sermon delivered by the great A Tribe Called Quest legend, the Iggster finally dropped a retort, also on Twitter (go figure). “I find it patronizing to assume I have no knowledge of something I’m influenced by, but I’ve also grown up with strangers assuming that. So its completely fine and I’m used to it by now. I don’t lose any sleep over it,” she wrote.
“I’m also not going to sit on Twitter & play hip-hop squares with strangers to somehow prove i deserve to be a fan of or influenced by hip-hop. I would have to be an idiot or incredibly bored to think that would change anyone’s already cemented opinion of me. I’m neither. How you feel about me blending musical genres together doesn’t bother me, no one is making you support or buy pop rap albums.” And the saga continues.
RZA Says Wu-Tang Chemistry Is “Not All That Good Right Now”
Wu-Tang’s first album in seven years is optimistically titled A Better Tomorrow, but according to RZA, the energy within the group isn’t currently positive. “There was a lot of opposition within the Wu-Tang circle to doing the album,” RZA revealed to NME, speaking on the Clan’s sixth proper studio album, which dropped earlier this month. Raekwon was initially publicly opposed to the project, but eventually came on board. “The chemistry’s not all that good right now.”
The leader of the Staten Island set says the group is self-sabotaging its success. “We’ve all done this long enough to know this process isn’t just like, you make an album, then that’s that,” he continues, before curiously comparing A Better Tomorrow to a deformed infant. “You gonna love that child, make the best out of that situation and help it have the best life it can.”