In the lyric pamphlet to Black Messiah, D'Angelo's third album after 14 years away from the spotlight, the soul-savant explains his reasoning behind its title and sudden release: "Some will jump to the conclusion that I am calling myself a Black Messiah," he begins. "For me the title is about all of us...It's about people rising up in Ferguson and in Egypt and in Occupy Wall Street and in every place where a community has had enough and decides to make change happen. It's not about celebrating one charismatic leader but celebrating thousands of them."
Childish Gambino, the rapper formerly known as Community star Donald Glover, is really feeling himself these days. Freestyling at a show in Australia, where he's living while he records his new EP, Gambino bragged about being better than every rapper living, including better rappers Drake, ScHoolboy Q, and Kendrick Lamar.
Last week, rapper Kendrick Lamar was honored among GQ's elite in the magazine's Men of the Year issue. But Lamar's label boss didn't want the honor: Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith, who represents Top Dawg Entertainment, unceremoniously pulled his artist from the party that accompanied the issue, calling out writer Steve Marsh's profile, "Kendrick Lamar: Rapper of the Year," for its "racial overtones."
The major-label debut from the 25-year-old, Dr. Dre-endorsed Kendrick Lamar, good kid, m.A.A.d city, is the Dark Knight of albums: led by a conflicted hero, it is rich, brainy enough not to be too brainy and utterly crowd-pleasing. Billed on its cover as "A Short Film by Kendrick Lamar," it's actually a feature-length narrative through his youth in Compton. The songs are so conversant with one another that Esquire even posted a sort of Cliff's Notes plot outline.