Beyoncé, Solange, Janelle Monáe Write Tributes to D'Angelo's 'Voodoo'

Beyoncé, Solange, Janelle Monáe Write Tributes to D'Angelo's 'Voodoo'
The music world has been gripped with excitement at the surprise release of D'Angelo's endlessly anticipated album Black Messiah, but now some high-profile artists are revisiting his prior album, Voodoo. This tribute project is for Solange Knowles' Saint Heron website.

The tribute was posted today (February 4) to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Voodoo (although they're a couple of weeks late, since it came out on January 25, 2000). It consists of messages from a number of artists, each of whom shared personal thoughts and rhapsodized about the album's greatness.

These range from thoughtfully composed paragraphs to brief sentences, with contributors including Beyoncé, Solange, Janelle Monáe, A-Trak, Dave Longstreth (of Dirty Projectors), Ariel Rechtshaid, Kindness, Patrick Wimberly (of Chairlift), Sasia Irons (of THEESatisfaction), Thundercat and more.

Read some of their comments below, or go here to read them all.


Voodoo is as relevant today as it was when it first came out. D'Angelo's harmonies, instrumentation and arrangements are iconic and timeless. His song structure of mixing classic R&B with the true roots of gospel jam session still resonates today. It is an album you can listen to from start to finish. This is the DNA of black music; all the love, pain, social statements and rawness punctuated by his effortless vocal progression from his funky low register to his sexy falsetto. My favorite song on the album is "Africa" and "Untitled" definitely inspired my song "Rocket."

Solange Knowles:

Voodoo is the church in which we all come to worship the religion of soul music. It is the word. It is the temple. It is the law for all lovers of true rhythm and blues. At 15-years-old, Voodoo is the most self-assured, decisive, deep in its roots, and "grown as hell" album in recent musical history I've ever experienced. A true testament to the term, timeless. Since its birth, it has always gone hand and hand with reflections of various milestones in my life. I was 13, when I heard "Untitled" and got goosebumps at the first knock of the snare. I couldn't have been farther from having the answers when he belted "How Does It Feel," but the deep down gutters of my soul said "Daaaaammmn Goot!"

My son was five when we filmed him trying his best attempt at break dancing to "Devils Pie," if any song was gonna give him the spirit… that one was sure to. Almost seven years ago, I fell in love with my husband with "Africa" as our soundtrack, each chord of the beginning bells representing the sentiments of our oneness. "Send It On" became the song of the hour at many a Brooklyn house parties, about 15 women spread all around my apartment singing along emotionally in unison.

And alas, one of the greatest memories of my wedding was dancing to "Feel Like Making Love" until the wee hours, eyes closed, the biggest smile on my face. Whatever D'Angelo's journey back to South Carolina and Virginia encompassed, somehow became my journey too. It delivered me. It spoke for me. It made me feel right around the corner from my ancestors. It help me to understand the woman I wanted to become.

Dave Longstreth:

Voodoo collapses time, it feels eternal. Voodoo is a voice that's been whispering vines into the margins of medieval manuscripts in some Alexandrian library beyond the barbarous antiquity of the present. It posits an alternate reality where traditionalism and technology aren't at odds: the palette of the recording is so futuristic and crisp but the playing is so real, so effortlessly true. The grooves are at once taut as an airlock and free as a handful of almonds strewn on a tabletop, and the One always snaps back, elliptical as a portrait of Jupiter's orbit in a convex mirror. D'Angelo's voice is insanely elastic, his runs so crispy, his vibrato a light green leaf in the May breeze, and the thrum of him singing with himself is an inexact three-color silkscreen, as if his spirit is constantly leaving his body and then returning to it glossolalia — to testify, to affirm, to explore, to assure.

Janelle Monáe:

Voodoo was by far one of the best concept albums in music. From the start of the first interlude, I knew D'Angelo had created his own world and I wanted to be in it. Although I couldn't understand a lot of the words –and still can't — it made me fall deeper in love with his melody and his tone. The live musicianship through out was incredible and has definitely influenced me and my production team, Wondaland, to always bring in live instrumentation through our albums. For example the horns, guitar, bass and etc.

His harmonies and background vocals are still some of my favorites to listen to. I loved the way songs like "Devil's Pie" right into "Left Right" seamless flowed. "Spanish Joint" opened my eyes to how elements and sounds from a different genre could work on the same album and still remain cohesive.