It’s all about the voice. The voice and vocal rendition itself becomes the lyric! It’s taken me about fourteen days to really work it out for myself, even though I received some inspiration some days ago from one of the many reviews I read on Facebook about Black Messiah, which was written by one of his fellow artists. I think it was Cleveland Watkiss (but I forget now and it doesn’t really matter). Whoever it was explained that the sometimes fruitless efforts by some to decipher every sound or word that he utters is placing an emphasis on the wrong thing. Some have complained that he needs to demonstrate better diction, but they miss the point completely. I thought that before today, but I really get it now. And I have done that without once feeling the need to pore over the many lyric sheets that are doing the rounds on Facebook and other social media. It’s all about what he is doing with his voice! The polyrythmic and layered soundwaves that the listener experiences aurally through D’s voice become the lyric itself! Trying in vain and failing to always hear the specific words and making instant sense of them is the wrong emphasis to place on the experience!

So with that in mind, just this morning I heard Ain’t That Easy, 1000 Deaths, The Charade and Sugar Daddy in an even different light from the past two weeks…and that was a welcome surprise, even for someone who prides himself on “getting it” from day one. It brought my enjoyment of the album to a whole new level that I did not think possible even two or three days ago! It also allowed me to hear the voice of Kendra Foster even more clearly on The Charade. More clearly than I had listened for it in the preceding weeks…and that is the joy of the musical experience. I for one am glad that a few artists like D are doing this to us, making us work that little bit more and dig that little bit deeper than the rest of the music industry conglomerate would generally like the masses to do.

I once wrote a paper (during completion of a postgraduate degree) on Communication Theory and one of the interesting components of the paper was the relationship between all of the elements that constitute the process of communication from giver to receiver. I wrote about the communication experience that takes place with the use of the talking drum in the African experience. The talking drum being the medium through which the messages are processed and communicated. The different tones and rises and falls of the pitch are the vibrations that hit the ears and soul of the listener and through which meaning is conveyed. In D’s case, on some of his songs, his voice becomes the lyric itself. The celebration of his vocal rendition. Like listening on two different levels…because there are those many songs where you also hear the words themselves that more clearly. It all makes for a richer musically enjoyable experience. I also wrote on someone’s Facebook page only yesterday that Anthony Hamilton and Angie Stone will have to bring their A-game to the next world tour with D, because he harmonises so superbly on practically all of his vocal runs. It is just such a beautiful thing to experience and one that they no doubt enjoy. They’ve already been there and done that with him – and they will simply have to do it again – if they are to measure up to the task at hand.