After listening to this debut once, there is no doubt who Jill Scott is. The street poet, singer, songwriter and Roots protege has put out an R&B album that is an honest look at life in modern, urban America.
Mixing jazz, hip-hop and some classic soul, “Who Is Jill Scott?” sails on smooth, slow tempo beats. Its bare-boned arrangements highlight Scott’s spoken-word lyrics. Speaking tongues of poetry and song, her timbre is refreshingly controlled yet almost restless.
Simply put, Scott can do it all. Whether it’s the detailed depiction of things we take for granted on “Exclusively” or the intriguing “Watching Me,” she goes beyond thought-provoking. She can cop an attitude, as shown on “Gettin’ in the Way,” and she does lyrical gymnastics on “One Is the Magic #.”
A pair of tracks deal with her love life. “A Long Walk” tells the story of how she and her fiance Lyzel fell in love, while “He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat)” is a sensual dedication to her boo. Save for its unusual ending, the song gives a fair depiction of how it feels to be in love.
Scott received a great deal of help from DJ Jazzy Jeff’s A Touch of Jazz production team. Her work with Will Smith, Common and the Roots has taught her a thing or two about the business.
Once you listen to her work, it won’t come as a surprise that it took her only five minutes to write Erykah Badu’s lines from the Grammy winning track “You Got Me.” Amid all the flesh-exp0sing, substance-less songs of today, Scott is a godsend.
Give her a little more `time and she’ll be poised to challenge Mary J. Blige as the genre’s premier act. For now, though, take the time to get to know Jill Scott.