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Brown Sugar

by D'Angelo

Released July 3, 1995 via EMI

Reviewed July 2, 2020

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Brown Sugar (42%), Cruisin’ (27%), Lady (22%)

This feels like the beginning of one’s journey to becoming a man, with D’Angelo being the man in particular. Brown Sugar is an album chock full of greatness quantified; catchy foot tapping beats that only the 90s could inspire within the heart and mind of a young man. Although D’Angelo was wise beyond his years at the time of Brown Sugar’s conception, there still exists a great amateuristic element to this album that his others don’t necessarily carry. At the end of the day, he was a kid when he made this, so it serves as a beautiful time capsule for a man to look back on before he became one. – Ben (Synth) (9/10)

Even as perhaps the lowest rung of D'Angelo's discography, Brown Sugar is a crucial stepping-stone in the formation of neo-soul music as we know it. Residing almost directly between the ecosystems of 90's rap and classic soul, D'Angelo plays both sides of the field to a tee by applying his syrupy vocals atop rhythmic, buttery cadence. This debut is older than D'Angelo was at the time of its release, but the fluidity in the carnal expression throughout the project makes him sound grown beyond his years. – Pax (8.7/10)

It is incredible to imagine a young man, just slightly above drinking age, writing and producing an album as soulful and emotionally brilliant as Brown Sugar. Alas, D’Angelo was the prodigious figure to achieve just that. Brown Sugar’s atmosphere of love, vulnerability, and bliss is abundant and palpable in nearly every moment. Musically, D’Angelo flushes the album’s sounds with the warmth of live instruments, bridging the gap from 70’s soul to 90’s R&B and setting the standard from henceforth. 25 years later, every element of Brown Sugar remains pristine due to the inspiration it continues to provide for great singers and artists on a generational basis. – DeVán (8/10)

Alan: 9.3/10 | Ben (Synth): 9/10 | Daniel: 9/10 | Jared: 9/10 | Pax: 8.7/10

Enth: 8.5/10 | Hadley: 8.5/10 | Cam: 8.3/10 | Dominick: 8.3/10 | DeVán: 8/10


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