After penning the massive hip-hop hit “You Got Me,” performed by the Roots and Erykah Badu, Jill Scott has released her debut album, Who Is Jill Scott? Words & Sound Vol. 1, posing the question and answering it simultaneously. She is first and foremost a poet and most definitely one of the brightest new R&B talents to emerge in the last few years. Scott is passionately spiritual. Most of the tracks on the album avoid hip-hop clichés and sampling in favor of “elevation” (as she says in “A Long Walk”) and organic soul. With Who Is Jill Scott?, Scott almost single-handedly revives the spirit in soul music. The Latin-flavored “One Is the Magic #” offers a spiritual slant akin to Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation. Her unique take on self-love is built around mathematical metaphors: “If I add myself unto myself/Multiply times you and yours and you again/There’s just me.” Scott recalls a safari love affair in the Serengeti on the sultry, Prince-esque “Do You Remember”: “You splashed my face with Nile water/Daughter of the Diaspora you named me.” In the two-minute “I Think It’s Better,” she finds words for what most people struggle to say in a lifetime (she hesitates and then sings, “What I felt is past-tense/What I feel you just haven’t heard”). Likewise, Scott’s command of expression allows one to truly feel her bliss on “He Loves Me.” The track displays a delicate use of her vocal range, framed with soaring strings, jazzy piano and bass, and cool synths. Judging from tracks like “Love Rain,” Scott is clearly in as much lust as she is in love. The song is drenched in thick beats and poetic sex: “Love slipped from my lips/Dripped down my chin/And landed in his lap.” (Prince would be both proud and aroused.) The accompanying spoken-word piece, “Exclusively,” could teach Lil’ Kim a thing or two about what sexy is: “This morning my man exclusively introduced me to some good extra lovin’/He was lickin’ and suckin’ on everything/Just the way he should.” The couple’s post-coital hunger leads her to a twist ending on the supermarket checkout line. Scott can even make lines like “You better back down/Before you get smacked down” sound smooth.
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