Back in October 2017, HHAD decided to diverse its debate topics by taking a nose dive into the R&B pool–a genre we love just as much as Hip Hop. The first debate topic was deprive from R&B’s subgenre Neo-Soul: “Who Had the Better Debut; Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite or D’Angelo’s Brown Sugar?” Since we shined light on two male artists, let’s point that same light to two females whom debuts made just as much as an impression: Erykah Badu’s Baduizm and Jill Scott’s Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1.
Baduizm found it’s way to R&B listeners first in 1997. Going up against stiff competition such as Mary J. Blige’s Share My World and Mariah Carey’s Butterfly–which all three albums were released in the same year—odds were stack against Erykah. However, her Afrocentric image and musical style would be undeniable.
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In addition, Erykah’s vocal range earned the comparison to Jazz legend, Billie Holiday. And like Lady Day, she didn’t have to have a wide vocal range to attract new listeners to the newly formed subgenre.
“On & On,” the album’s first single, speaks on spirituality which reflects the teachings of the Nation of Gods and Earths or the 5 percenter.
“Next Lifetime” would touch on spirituality in forms of reincarnation. Erykah tells the story about a love interest that despite the mutual attraction, the two can’t be together due to her relationship status. “I guess I’ll see you next lifetime” suggests.
The album was promoted by aforementioned singles “On & On” and “Next Lifetime.” In addition, “Otherside of the Game” and “Apple Tree.”
Like Brown Sugar and Urban Hang Suite, Baduizm was accredited for laying the foundation for Neo-Soul, helping the subgenre gain more commercial popularity.
After listening to Baduizm, a gut feeling told me she was from Philadelphia. She’s from Dallas, TX, however, she recorded some of the album in The City of Brotherly Love which would explains the connection. Ironically, Phillly would be the birthplace to Billie Holiday
Baduizm peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200 and number 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The album would go 3 times platinum (over 3 million copies sold).
Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1 came three years later, however, at perfect timing. Like Baduizm, I heard the Philly sound which in this case it was with a justifiable cause. Ms. Scott hail from the city and her Philadelphia roots could be heard throughout her debut.
[“Hip Hop Roundtable” by HHAD podcast coming SOON!]
The same way spirituality influenced Baduizm, spoken word would play the same role in Who Is Jill Scott? Jill’s talent was on full display in the opening track.
“I love to write poetry, I love to sing. I love to write poetry, I love to read my poetry, but basically what I live for is, um (love, love),” Jill spits on “Jilltro.”
Spoken word could be heard in “Exclusively” as well, however, the album was not filled with Maya Angelou type poems over smooth R&B instrumentals. The streets of Philly would come out of Jill in “Gettin’ In the Way,” a track involving her man’s old fling causing mischief in a way she obviously disapproves of.
“Sister girl, I know you don’t understand/but you going have to understand he’s my man now/What you had is gone, our thing is sweet/Our thing is stronger than any lie you can tell on me/He knows my heart and that’s the part/Yo roots are dug up so you might as well give up/I see your intentions, you can’t handle the truth/He let you go a long time ago now it’s time to turn him loose.” -Jill Scott
The album was promoted by singles, “Love Rain,” “The Way,” “A Long Walk,” and the aforementioned “Gettin in the Way.”
Although “He Loves Me (Lyzel In E Flat)” was not a single, it became a fan favorite. It was nominated for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 2003 Grammy Awards.
Who Is Jill Scott? earned a Grammy nomination for R&B Album of the Year. It peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200 and number 17 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The album reached 2,500,000 in US sales which earned 2 times platinum (over 3 million copies sold) status.
Personally, Baduizm and Who Is Jill Scott? both are a pleasurable listen. Apparently, R&B fans feel the same. Their record sales and accomplishments on the charts were nearly identical. Between the two, which one you guys enjoyed the most? #R&BDebate #WhoIsJillScott
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Who Had the Better Debut; Erykah Badu’s ‘Baduizm’ or Jill Scott’s ‘Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol.1’?
[Polls Are Closed!!]
Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1 -43%