Album Review • D’Angelo stepped onto the 90’s scene with what some would call the “blueprint” of neo-soul with his Brown Sugar album. Most R&B artist during the 90’s were mixing their sound with hip hop inspired beats, but D’Angelo kept it straight R&B/Soul.
This neo-soul sound is what made D’Angelo stand out from the rest. He gave BUTTA vocals, along with impeccable productions with the classic hits “Brown Sugar” to “Lady” and the beautifully covered Smokey Robinson hit “Cruisin’.” Although “Brown Sugar” was inspired by his relationship with singer Angie Stone at the time, some thought “Brown Sugar” was an ode to dark-skinned women, but it is actually a love song for marijuana. I guess we can add this track to the Stoner’s Playlist along with Rick James “Mary Jane.”
Regardless of the label not being happy about “Brown Sugar” being the lead single because it was such a different sound, this hit gave D’Angelo his first Grammy Award nominations for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B song. The song really set the tone for the type of soul this album was going to give. We all know most labels don’t understand the type of music the fans really want, and D’Angelo and his team knew what the people wanted.