D'Angelo '99 Percent Done' With New Album, Questlove Says

Roots drummer calls long-awaited record 'totally brilliant'

Questlove, D'Angelo
Kevin Mazur/WireImage; Kevin Mazur/WireImage
Questlove, D'Angelo
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Not only is D'Angelo's endlessly awaited new album "99 percent done," it's an album well worth waiting for, Questlove told Billboard in a new interview. "I would not be far off by saying this is probably my generation's version of Sly [and the Family Stone's] There's a Riot Goin' On," the drummer said. "It's potent. It's funky. It's an extremely hard pill to swallow."

Questlove said the singer has been holed up in the studio finishing the "totally brilliant" follow-up to 2000's classic Voodoo.

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"We spent close to 18 hours, well not me personally because I have to go to Fallon, but usually right after work," Questlove said. "He's the only person that I'll actually go to the studio with and stay there to six in the morning, re-doing these drum parts. I won't even do that for my own band, but I'll do it for him. Right now, we're just tightening up the loose ends."

Questlove added that he hopes D'Angelo will turn in the album next month, and said the new songs sound fresh despite the delay.

"He's one of those artists that have, of course, taken 13 years to follow up a record. It's going to take you about 10 years to digest this record. Totally brilliant. Just the way this society works with music . . . being able to judge if something is a classic after the first listen, you can do that after 30 seconds on this. And the fact that we started this record in 2004, and it still sounds like it came out five years from now, it is a testament to the timelessness of it." 

Amid earlier rumors that the record was very close to being finished, D'Angelo made his first live appearances in more than a decade last year, jamming with the Roots at Bonnaroo and playing a full set at New Orleans' Essence Music Festival. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Questlove said the record would mark a "radical 180 turn" for D'Angelo, adding the musician had been honing his guitar playing, creating his own unique keyboard sounds and even finding new inspiration in artists like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and David Bowie.