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If D’Angelo’s life were viewed as one long series of dramatic episodes, you might say he was last seen being thrown from his Hummer, which was doing somersaults through a Powhatan County cornfield. R&B really ain’t my thing, but I’m a sucker for covering a world-class disappearing act. From his last mug shot, it’s clear he’s gained a spectacular amount of weight. I had only a vague idea of his troubles with the law, and no idea what he was doing professionally. For that matter, was he still on good terms with the mother of his daughter, Imani?
He was then plucked from the dirt by a medevac helicopter, deposited at the VCU E. It has been six years since D’Angelo released his album Voodoo, and legions of fans remain at his beck and call, awaiting his next move. So imagine my interest as the next episode unfolds: D’Angelo, the platinum-selling recording artist dubbed by some critics as the “godfather of neo-soul” and perhaps Richmond’s most famous offspring, is suddenly MIA. And what was at the root of his problems — the wreck, the personal troubles that seemed to be weighing on his aspirations?
11, 2005, to charge D’Angelo with driving on a suspended license during his September accident. “We haven’t been able to find him.” As Barrick tells it, the state cops need evidence of a suspect’s location in order to deliver a summons.
If D’Angelo turned up talking to the local press, that might clearly place him in Richmond, which might land him in the clink.
If not for this stuff, D’Angelo might have otherwise been allowed to ponder his next move in private.
But his life and his career seem to be coming apart, very publicly, at the seams.
Not bad for a preacher’s son who forged his vocal talent singing in church and high school choirs.
His cousin Latrice Taylor, located through a service rep at a local car dealership and who promised to pass a note to D’Angelo through her aunt, got nowhere; and D’Angelo’s cousin Marlon — half of his ex-band, the Dirty Soulz, and one of D’Angelo’s first recording partners — could not be found for comment. If D’Angelo really was in Nashville by now, one could assume he was doing what he did best: getting back to basics, cutting tracks on spec which he’d then shop to labels.
This was the way he’d done it in the early days, which led to his groundbreaking first album Brown Sugar. After some convincing, Breedlove promised to “hook me up” — he was going to call D’Angelo and see about putting us in touch.
“He needs several weeks home,” Leeds wrote, “and then, once doctors give the high sign, he goes to Nashville to resume working on his next album.” Both men seemed to be using the Nashville spin as damage control. In a late-April phone call, he would not speak on the record. Londell Mc Millan, phoned at his office in New York, was also blowing me off.
This was the same guy who issued a statement after the wreck that read, “[D’Angelo] is anxious to finish the recording of his soul masterpiece that the world has patiently awaited.” He added, strangely, that a similar wipeout had done wonders for Kanye West.
His lawyer, Ned Mikula, helped that decision along by begging leniency for the singer, insisting he was bolting straight to Nashville to begin work on a follow-up to Voodoo. Proof that D’Angelo never made it to Music City USA was lying in a downtown hospital bed.