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The 25 Best DJ Premier Beats

22. D'Angelo "Devil's Pie" (1998)

Album: Voodoo
Label: Virgin

It was the second song on Voodoo, but one of the first signs that not only would this second D'angelo album be greatbut that it would stretch for its greatness, exploring territory D hadn't trekked through before: Serious hip-hop production putting in work, in place of the full, live instrumentation listeners came in expecting.

Kicking off with a scratched record, the soundscape of "Devil's Pie"a murky, sultry, slow-burning track not without its explosive moments-was a brilliant meeting of the minds, with D'angelo's vocal range in full effect, drums kicking under thumping bass—with blips assembled from five eclectic samples.

The effect straddled the line between mysticism and erotica, an oddly timeless stripe of dark funk that feels like it had always existed, but hadn't yet been turned into a late-night cut for the ages. Not like this, at least, not at that point. And it has yet to be replicated since. Foster Kamer

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