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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" featuring Common and Mos Def.

Customer Reviews

TRUE RNB

This dude is the the PHILLY SOUND. If you like hearing albums without skipping tracks, then this is the album you need to have in your collection.

Classic

Plain n' simply put....a Classic Album.

this dude can sing

the production on this album is great and it contains very little fluff. every track is at least solid or fitting into the album as a whole and there are a couple classics on this. mainly this guy is the most insanly versitile and talented singer i've heard in a while. do you ever sit around and wonder why there used to be so many great mainstream r&b singers and now there's... r kelly and his trapped in the closet skit... well bilal is a real singer with fantastic style. buy this.

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
  • Parental Advisory

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