MUSIC NERD MOMENT OF THE DAY: D’Angelo – Devil’s Pie

Time was, D’Anegelo was on top of the R&B world with everyone else looking up, and trying to catch up. The proof was just how anticipated his sophomore album, Voodoo, was at the turn of the millennium. And upon it’s release it was hailed as both a throwback to artists like Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix in it’s diverse plethora of rhythms instrumentation and abstract lyrics. One of the best examples of just how much D’Angelo had grown in a span of 4 to 5 years since the 1995 release of Brown Sugar was “Devil’s Pie”, his ode/cautionary tale about the secular trappings of the world and just how quickly they can drag us down if we don’t remain vigilant, and a song that originally appeared on the soundtrack to Hype Williams visually stunning yet questionably acted Belly, considered by at least a few Hip Hop heads to be a hood classic. “Devil’s Pie” did for Belly what Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly did for movie of the same name: it offered an antithesis to the often glamorized life of those that deal drugs to their own community, and did so convincingly. But the real beauty of “Devil’s Pie” is the perfect marriage between D’Angelo’s somewhat twisted, Armageddon-inspired song lyrics and DJ Premier’s plodding, sample-heavy, tinkling, East Coast styled production. Undoubtedly the ideal song to be featured on the soundtrack to Belly and one of the best tracks from Voodoo. One might go as far as to say that it’s the Hip Hop/R&B version of The Rolling Stones “Sympathy for the Devil” Many of us at the time didn’t realize it, but “Devil’s Pie” was the ideal warning against the ensuing commercialism that would eventually consume the Hip Hop generation.

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