Questlove

D’Angelo’s ‘Black Messiah': An Instant Classic That Mixes Politics, Love, and Artistic Triumph

Black Messiah, D’Angelo’s first new album in almost 15 years, doesn’t feel like the tortured manuscript of a man struggling with doubt and questioning his self-worth. Instead, it sounds like the result of a world-weary artist’s maturation. It’s warm, inviting, smooth — and at times, exceedingly real about the world we live in now. D’Angelo records sound like every soul and jazz record you’ve ever heard filtered through the experience of the black man in America at the turn of the century. Black Messiah is no exception. … Read More

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‘Black Messiah': Tracking D’Angelo’s 15-Year Absence, With a Little Help From Questlove

When D’Angelo’s new album, Black Messiah, was released this morning, it capped off 14 — let’s be honest, more like 15 — years of waiting for a follow-up to his classic soul album, 2000’s Voodoo. That is so much time. The world has changed completely. After all the rumors, the silence, and the reclusive genius staying (somewhat) reclusive, Black Messiah delivers on two great promises: D’Angelo’s talent, and his buddy Questlove’s constant assurances that an album is coming and it’s going to be great. … Read More

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Why Did It Take Chris Rock So Long to Make a Great Movie Like ‘Top Five’?

The moment he dropped his 1996 breakthrough stand-up special Bring the Pain, Chris Rock was dubbed the heir apparent of Richard Pryor, one of the few comics on the scene to approach the king’s potent mixture of social commentary, personal confession, and performative brilliance. But that wasn’t all they had in common; Pryor spent most of his film career failing to find a vehicle that captured his unique gifts, and Rock has experienced much of the same struggle. “Richard Pryor has two good movies out of 30 or 40,” Rock told Rolling Stone. “Rodney Dangerfield had one. So it’s easy to look at history and go, ‘Maybe I’m not going to get one’… But I guess you’ve got to make your own history.” And Rock has done just that with his new film Top Five, writing, directing, and starring in a picture that plays like a cross between Stardust Memories, Funny People, and Before Sunset, but refracted through the prism of Rock’s distinctive comic sensibility. So why did it take him so long to make a movie worthy of his talent? … Read More

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What Routine Interruptions Look Like

Presented by Heineken

So far this summer, we’ve made approximately 1,500 phone calls, trying to reward men — and women — of the world who entered to win our Routine Interruptions campaign with Heineken. Pro tip: If you’ve entered the contest, answer the phone — even if you don’t recognize the number on your caller ID. … Read More

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Staff Picks: Flavorwire’s Favorite Cultural Things This Week

Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments. … Read More

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10 Recent Nonfiction Books to Read for Black History Month

Black History Month focuses on history, just like the name suggests. It also suggests, for some people, reading only older, classic books about the history of black people in the United States. Not that we’d ever discourage anyone from revisiting the classics, but there are many recent books worth reading on the matter of the “African-American experience,” however you choose to define that. Here are ten of our favorite recent memoirs, history books, and biographies that deal with the black experience in America. … Read More

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Questlove to Release a Book on ‘Soul Train’

Questlove is on a roll this year: fresh off the release of his acclaimed memoir Mo’ Meta Blues, America’s #1… Read More

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‘Parks and Rec’ Will Be Just Fine Without Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe

Well, it couldn’t all be good news. After weeks of squee-inducing Parks and Recreation casting announcements (Henry Winkler as Jean-Ralphio’s dad! Sam Elliot as Eagleton’s answer to Ron Swanson! Kristen Bell as Leslie’s Eagelton doppelganger!), BuzzFeed broke a bummer: Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe will both leave the show midway through the season. Parks and Rec fans across the Internet are literally crying their eyes out. But should they? … Read More

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Questlove’s Memoir is Out and Apparently It’s Pretty Great

Musical jack-of-all-trades Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is usually pretty soft-spoken, but when he opens his mouth, he’s almost always got something… Read More

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The Morning's Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. As Gawker gleefully reports, it’s definitely time to take off those yellow rubber bracelets. Lance Armstrong has stepped down as chair of the Livestrong charity and lost his Nike endorsement deal just a week after a US anti-doping agency released their report on his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

2. Obligatory Janis Joplin… Read More

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