Most artists try to control the narrative about their work early, or at least chime in soon after they release an album, but not D’Angelo. In his typically elusive fashion, the singer spoke about Black Messiah album to Rolling Stone for the first time—a mere 6 months after it came out. There's no denying that waiting this long blunts the impact: at this point, most of what he said in the interview has already come out through other conversations with his collaborators (Questlove, vocalist/lyricist Kendra Foster, and D's trusted engineer, Russell Elevado).
However, the singer did tell an amusing story about tensions with his label in the years between Voodoo and Black Messiah (one imagines there was a lot of tension as the years stretched on): “The music was pretty ahead of the curve, and they weren't ready for that,” D noted. “They had these young college kids coming in as A&R, trying to tell me, ‘You should get so-and-so to produce this track, or you should get so-and-so to spit 16 on this.’ I remember walking out of a meeting like, ‘Fuck you, fuck this!’ The biggest factor in all of it was money. They cut off funding, and I had to go on the road to generate money on my own to fund the recording.”
Most importantly for fans, D suggests that more music is on the way. Apparently he originally wanted Black Messiah to be longer—though its relative brevity, by D’Angelo standards (it's 20 minutes shorter than Voodoo), is actually a strength. “What I'm working on now is like a companion piece,” he told Rolling Stone. “I hope people receive it that way. It's part of the same vision.” “I do want to put a lot of music out there,” he added. “I feel like, in a lot of respects, that I'm just getting started.”
This may be cause for cautious optimism, but as any D’Angelo fan knows, his track record—5 years for Voodoo, 14 for Black Messiah—does not suggest new music will appear any time soon. Happy to be proven wrong!