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1st Born Second

Bilal

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Album Review

Though Philly crooner Bilal (Beloved, Intelligent, Lustful and Living It) cut his teeth working with D'Angelo and Erykah Badu, many hip-hop heads will recognize him from his appearances on Common's Like Water for Chocolate ("The 6th Sense") and Guru's Jazzmatazz, Vol. 3 ("Certified"). While the title, 1st Born Second, of Bilal's debut bristles with oxymoronic implications, it is really a nod to the Soulquarian family that Bilal calls home. Though 1st Born Second is replete with a very discernible Soulquarian vibe, Bilal's piercing voice (imagine Prince on ecstasy) and soul-searching ballads prove that he is a deserving inductee to this musically advanced collective. He is bestowed with a dream team production ensemble (Dr. Dre, ?uestlove, Jay Dee, James Poyser, Rapheal Saadiq, Mike City, and Vidal Davis), but it is his voice, itself an instrument, that is the main attraction here. These vocal gifts are eminently displayed on the sugary, WNBA adopted anthem "Soul Sista," "All That I Am," and the introspective "Sometimes," where the artist does some self-reflecting over ?uestlove's minimalist percussion snares and James Poyser's subtle keyboard riffs: "I wish I wasn't me sometimes/I wish I was drug free sometimes." Granted, Bilal occasionally falls prey to the moody musings and pleading romanticism ("For You") that marks the efforts of fellow neo-soul constituents like Maxwell. However, Bilal's ambidextrous nature, experimental inklings, and shape-shifting falsetto's foster a more diverse atmosphere, as he comfortably graces the funky Dr. Dre and Scott Storch-produced "Fast Lane" featuring Jadakiss, and waxes poetically about lost love on the Jay Dee-produced "Reminisce" featuringCommon and Mos Def. [1st Born Second was also released in a "clean" edition, containing no profanities or vulgarities.]

Customer Reviews

A soulful soundtrack to anyone's life

I bought this CD when it first came out in 2001. I played it to death. It has a witty soulfulness to it, a great vibe, and it simply will become part of your life sound track... I mean how many of us have ever wondered "when will you call"? I have listened to a lot of music since then, and when I recently bought the album on iTunes, I was smitten with it all over again. It's a winner.

Oh my Goodness

I bought this album when it first came out in 2001. That before the Anthony Hamiltons and the DWELE's were here. I would like to say his style is like noone else and is so distinct. I can hear his voice on other artsists tracks such as COMMON, and he is even on J Dupri new album, He has been featured also in the jazz sector on LUVPARK'S Album. Man, He has got to come out with a album this year. If he doesn't I might Die.

One of the best

One of the best, most versatile, and creative artist around. Great cd!!

Biography

Born: August 23, 1979 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

If there was one R&B artist for whom the neo-soul categorization seemed limiting, it was Philadelphia native Bilal. None of his recordings resembled the sycophantic worship of soul artists who thrived in the '60 and '70s, and it wasn't just because his voice — classically trained, capable of singing opera in seven languages — was so unique. While some inspirations were detectable, his recordings were wholly modern and became increasingly creative. His individuality led to being dropped...
Full Bio
1st Born Second, Bilal
View In iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Genres: R&B/Soul, Music, Contemporary R&B
  • Released: Jul 31, 2001
  • Clean

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