September 16, 2004

Test Spin: Jill Scott

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Before becoming a singer, Jill Scott wowed crowds as a poet. Perhaps this is why her words are more prolific and poignant than most of her contemporaries on her latest, Beautifully Human. Whereas Scott’s debut, Words and Sounds Vol.1, showcased more of the multi-talented artist’s spoken word skills, Beautifully Human sets Scott’s poetic soulful lyrical phrasing to syncopated rhythms, blues piano lines and luscious beats. Scott tells stories, discovers love, and once more introduces us to her world. All of the songs have a positive vibe, from the powerful cautionary tale of “Rasool,” to the confession of an infatuation in “Spring Summer Feeling.”

Scott’s words and the feelings they convey are made accessible and relatable to a diverse audience. She sings about the things we all strive to achieve or overcome: to live in happiness and fulfillment, to combat insecurity. Bonus track “Still Here” is spectacular with its self-affirming sense of being comfortable in one’s skin, “I am a peaceful nod/ I am a wealth unfathomed/ And if you don’t recognize my presence/ I am here…” and is a wonderful and effective concluding number.

Scott belongs to a myriad of neo-soul performers who have yet to gain the attention they deserve. These include fellow sensational artist India.Arie, Amel Larrieux, and Angie Stone. Sadly, in an entertainment industry such as the one in existence today, style and appeal is valued as more important than actual substance and content. Maybe the time will come for these magnificent performers, but somehow I think they’ll be all right either way.

Archived article by Sophia Asare
Red Letter Daze Staff Writer