D’Angelo will return to the stage on Saturday, February 27th at Harlem’s iconic Apollo Theater for a special Verzuz livestream event.

For those unfamiliar, Swizz Beatz and Timbaland‘s Verzuz battle series exploded in popularity on Instagram Live last year as the world remained locked down. Typically, these battles pit two DJs/singers/rappers/producers against each other from their respective homes, going song-for-song and letting viewers vote on which one they prefer in a (usually) good-natured “competition.

The D’Angelo Verzuz stream, it seems, will deviate from the formula. Rather than his living room, D’Angelo will perform from the stage of a storied New York theater with only “Friends” billed as his “opponent.” While both the “friends” and the format are unclear, it appears likely that this will be something closer to a conventional livestream concert with some all-star guests.

D’Angelo has long been known to drop out of the public eye between projects. After 2000’s Voodoo, D’Angelo virtually disappeared until the 2014 release of Black Messiah, another universally acclaimed record with a new-look band, The Vanguard. His tour behind Black Messiah began, appropriately, at the Apollo in 2015, and he hasn’t officially performed live since the end of his Black Messiah world tour in 2016.

He had been similarly quiet since then until January 2021, when he launched an official Instagram page and used it to announce his own Sonos Radio station and gave a rare interview about meeting Prince and George Clinton.

With the singer/bandleader/multi-instrumentalist emerging from his proverbial cave, speculation about another imminent album release began to light up the internet. On Saturday night, D’Angelo joined D-Nice on Instagram Live to confirm the rumors that a new album is, in fact, on the way and talked briefly about the Verzuz livestream from the Apollo.

On many levels, it’s difficult to know exactly what to expect when D’Angelo hits the Apollo stage on Saturday, February 27th to square off against his “friends” for a Verzuz, but it’s sure to be worth the wait. For more information, head here.