In the first-ever solo Verzuz battle, D’Angelo took on a host of his fellow recording artist friends like Method Man, Redman, and H.E.R. Before he took the stage at Harlem’s historic Apollo Theater, DJ Scratch warmed up the crowd with his mixing skills, as he played classic nostalgic hits and took viewers on a musical journey that began with 1970s R&B and went on to 1990s Hip Hop to the Neo-Soul era of the early 2000s with a heavy lean to the East Coast flavor.
As usual, our favorite celebrities were in the comments cutting up and enjoying the walk down memory lane. Whether names like Snoop Dogg, Common, Melba Moore, Bun B, Lena Waithe, Spice Adams, Lenny Kravitz, H.E.R., Juicy J and Tank were seen reminiscing or cracking jokes, viewers were fully engaged.
Take a look at the top moments of D’Angelo and Friends’ Versus below.
1. The Coat Stole the Show
When D’Angelo first appeared on the screen, viewers took note of his fur coat. Once the crooner stepped from behind the keyboard to better showcase his fashion sensibilities, he even revealed a pair of suede boots. Lena Waithe commented, “You remind me a pimp i once knew” while Letoya Luckett added, “That’s a fluffy coat you’ve got there.” JoJo joked “RIP coat.”
2. Trumpet Duet Opening
After almost an hour of masterful DJ mixes, D’Angelo took the Apollo stage to sit at his keyboard and warm up his vocals. To accompany the unreleased melody, he was joined by his trumpet player who helped to set the tone for the grown and sexy evening ahead.
3. The “Brown Sugar” Medley
Consistent with most other VERZUZ presentations, D’Angelo began his list of hits with his debut album, Brown Sugar. The groundbreaking LP is iconic due to the fact that D’Angelo handled most of the writing, instrumentation, arrangements and production himself! In 1995, the album debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard Top R&B Albums chart and ultimately went platinum that year.
4. Redman and Method Man Pull Up
In the first high profile pop-up, rap duo Redman and Method Man performed “Left & Right.” The track is from D’Angelo’s sophomore LP, Voodoo, released in 1999. That particular track was produced by Q-Tip from iconic A Tribe Called Quest.
5. Tribute to Harlem
Originally born in Richmond, Virginia; D’Angelo recalls competing in the amateur night talent competitions at the Apollo as a teen. He remembered how the Harlem community embraced the arts. The singer also called for more support of Black-owned businesses.
6. Prodigy Keyboard Tribute
On the electric piano, D’Angelo played a soulful rendition of Mobb Deep’s “Quiet Storm” and gave a nod to the late Queens’ rapper Prodigy. That flowed well into into “Feel Like Makin’ Love” from 1995’s Brown Sugar.
7. H.E.R.’s Appearance
In an unexpected pop up, Grammy award-winning artist H.E.R. pulled out her acoustic guitar for a stripped down version of her hit “Best Part.” In a duet we had no idea we absolutely needed, she joined D’Angelo for a cover of 1998’s “Nothing Even Matters.” D’Angelo was originally featured on the Lauryn Hill track on her record-breaking debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. H.E.R. is obviously influenced by Hill and there have been comparison between the two for years. In the same spirit, could there be an original D’Angelo and H.E.R. collab in the works?
8. “Brown Sugar’s” Spotlight
While the “Brown Sugar” medley was enjoyable, the title track truly deserved it’s own moment to shine and D’Angelo didn’t disappoint. DJ Scratch mixed in the intro and dropped the break at the perfect moment. Then, hands up and fire flame emojis were heavy in the comments section on IG Live.
9. “How Does it Feel” Finale
While he remained fully clothed for the performance, D’Angelo ended his Verzuz performance with “How Does It Feel.” The music video for the 2000 instant classic made waves due to the buff baritone appearing to be performing the entire four-minute long video completely naked. Classic.