Ladies, lady-bois and gents – it’s time to get your blues on with some Neo-Soul y’all, as the irresponsibly amazing street-poet, actress and Soul songstress supreme Mizz Jill Scott graces our Throwback Tuesday post of the week!
By the late 90’s, Neo-Soul pioneers Erykah Badu, Maxwell and D’Angelo had already established the genre as a staple on mainstream radio – so it wasn’t much of a surprise when Jill Scott’s 2000 genre-bending début ‘Who Is Jill Scott? Words And Sounds Vol. 1‘ went on to become a phenomenal success, both critically and commercially. Both mainstream Pop and Urban Radio hadn’t quite heard anything like Jill Scott before – a seductive and clever blend of R’n’B, Soul, Jazz, Spoken Word, Hip-Hop – collectively close to Neo-Soul, but not quite exactly. With eventual sales of over 2.5 million units sold in the US alone, the album went on to earn Jill multiple Grammy nominations consecutively in 2001, 2002 and 2003 – the latter nomination being for another personal fave from the album – the flawless ‘He Loves Me (Lyzel In E Flat)‘ which remains a fan-favorite on her tours (she eventually won the first of her 3 Grammy’s in 2005).
My fave Jill Scott single and video is the classic ‘A Long Walk‘ – the second single to be released from her début album. One listen to the irresistible mid-tempo Soul jam about just taking a walk with the person you love, and you’re immediately struck with Jill’s uncannily slick and insightful song-writing ability. Her way with words, an impressive blend of verbal virtuosity with soothing vocals – radiates a subtle honesty that’s literally addictive.
‘Your background it ain’t squeaky clean shit
Sometimes we all got to swim upstream
You ain’t no saint, we all are sinners
But you put your good foot down and make your soul a winner’
I would define her style as mix of R’n’B songstresses Faith Evans and Aaliyah with the Queen Of Hip-Hop/Soul Mary J Blige’s songwriting skills to an extent – although Mary tends to keep it brutally honest and raw, bordering on harsh at times. Jill’s rather mellow – although she delivers some major fierceness in singles like ‘Gettin’ In The Way‘. Either way, like Mary, Jill was a pioneer – there was literally nothing on the radio that sounded like her, and she could easily dominate a lounge playlist as well as a baby-making playlist with ample ease (try playing ‘A Long Walk‘ when you’re at it and gimme a shout-out after you’ve made the best love in the history of ever y’all). Check out the thoroughly amazing video right here :
More than a decade after her arrival, and Jill Scott is nowhere close to slowing down. An impressive discography of 4 studio albums, 2 live albums and 2 compilation albums and 3 Grammy’s later, she’s nothing short of a musical force to be reckoned with. The songbird just earned her first # 1 album on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart as her 4th studio album, ‘The Light Of The Sun‘ debuted at the penthouse last year – and she’s already working on its follow-up. In case you’re into some good old-fashioned Soul, Classic R’n’B, Neo-Soul or some easy listening – this one’s for you. Mizz Jill Scott is here to stay y’all!