Week Fulla Women in 90s & 00s R&B – First Listen #35: Jill Scott’s ‘Who is Jill Scott?’

Sigh. Miss Jill Scott. Out of the First Listens that I’ve done so far, I think Jill Scott’s is the one I was the most excited about because of the fact that it’s completely disrespectful of me to not have listened to Who is Jill Scott? (2000) in full by this ripe age of 24. I guess because Jill Scott has been so present in my life in various forms that listening to a project didn’t really cross my mind, until I was looking for albums to do this week. Definitely big cornball behavior. But I have now fulfilled part of my duty as a Black music lover by finally listening to a full Jill Scott project, and my life is definitely better because of it.

Photo Credit: https://pitchfork.com/news/jill-scott-announces-who-is-jill-scott-20th-anniversary-tour/

2000: Who is Jill Scott?

(via Genius)

First off, I didn’t realize how many of Jill Scott’s hits we’re on this project lol. “The Way” is on here. “He Love Me (Lyzel in E Flat)” is on here. “A Long Walk” is on here. “Gettin’ in the Way” is on here. Like, WHAT. And this is her debut project LOL. It’s really funny that Yasiin Bey is on the final track on this because I felt the same way about Black on Both Sides (1999), where it just felt too developed and perfect to be a debut. And maybe it’s because I’m not a musician and have music-making experience that is limited to playing the clarinet for 7 years and pretending to be a music producer on GarageBand, but it’s so wild to me when I hear someone’s debut project, and it’s this good. Especially since the songs that I pointed out earlier are some of Jill’s most coveted songs to this day. She was already setting herself up for longevity at the beginning of her career.

speaking of black on both sides…

Week Fulla 90s Hip Hop – First Listen #28: Yasiin Bey’s ‘Black on Both Sides’

Welp. Here we are! Welcome to a Week Fulla 90s Hip Hop! I have decided to finally begin my mission to become a hip hop head in real life, by listening to some 90s hip hop projects that I’ve never heard before. The thing is that I feel like I’ve been exposed to 90s hip … Continue reading Week Fulla 90s Hip Hop – First Listen #28: Yasiin Bey’s ‘Black on Both Sides’

Secondly, something that I kept thinking about while listening to this project was how passionate and sexy it is, which are two adjectives that I don’t use often, so it feels very weird to have them here lol. And I think that passion and sexiness are worth pointing out because I think a lot of times women, especially fat Black women, are not able to be seen as sexy or have access to passion in the same ways that thinner women or non-black women are. There’s a masculinity that tends to be associated with bigger bodies that disallows the words “big” and “sexy” to coexist. I mean, one of the first things that came up when I was trying to figure out Kyle Queiro’s name – because of his ignorant comments after the Jill Scott and Erykah Badu Verzuz some weeks back – by searching “jill scott attractive” was “weight loss.” And I feel like her body has stayed a talking point throughout the bulk of her career; she has never been allowed to be a singer, she’s always a great singer who’s unfortunately trapped in a big body. So, the fact that she was able to stake her claim in her sexiness is such an important thing. It shouldn’t be a big deal because fat folks should be able to be sexy and left alone without a whole thinkpiece needing to be written about it, but society is too trash for that. For Jill to be able to take agency in her sexuality and talk about wanting to be loved on and have for body treated right by her lover is *chef’s kiss*.

You’re different and special

You’re different and special, in every way imaginable

You love me from my hair follicles, to my toenails

You got me feeling like the breeze

Easy and free and lovely and new

Jill Scott, “He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat)”

All in all, I think that this is really just the quintessential R&B project. This album, Jill Scott, and her music in general embody the best of R&B. There’s something special about musicians who are poets or poets-turned-musicians. I thought a lot about Noname while I was listening to this project, and how she is able to put words together in ways that are fresh and innovative because she has that poetry background. Even the way that she raps, her flow is very poetic, like you’re listening to a spoken word piece. Jill Scott is the same way. She has that jazzy, spoken word way of singing that makes you feel like you’re in a jazz club, with smoke in the air and dim lights listening to people reciting poetry for hours. It really takes you into a different type of space.

I think the majority of my favorite songs on this project are the ones that I’d already heard before listening to the entire thing – so the radio hits. But, I did enjoy “Exclusively” and “I Think It’s Better.” Those were two shorter songs that came before “Gettin’ in the Way” and “He Loves Me,” acting as little skits in the album. But if you have read anything on thursday email before, you know that I can’t stand skits on a project LOL. They absolutely ruin a project for me, and there are very few projects with skits that I like. Late Registration (2005) by Kanye West and good kid, m.A.A.d. city (2013) by Kendrick Lamar are two of the only exceptions. So it was nice to hear someone do skits differently and in a way that felt less intrusive and pertinent to understanding the song that followed. The instrumentation and production on this project was also very nice.

Apparently, this year was/is the 20th anniversary of Who is Jill Scott?, and there was a special 20th anniversary edition of the record released that I’m planning on trying to find a copy of. I need to be able to listen to “The Way” on full volume in my room with the door closed, dancing with my invisible boo, and having the time of my life.

Overall Project Rating

Featured Image Credit: https://www.essence.com/celebrity/evolution-jill-scott/


(listen to Who is Jill Scott? on spotify by clicking the image below)

here’s something else you might like…

Week Fulla Women in 90s & 00s R&B – First Listen #34: India.Arie’s ‘Acoustic Soul’

To continue on with our Week Fulla 00s R&B albums, we have Acoustic Soul (2001) by Ms. India Arie. Now, even though I had never listened to an entire India Arie project until today, India Arie is definitely one of those R&B artists who are a mainstay in Black households. I couldn’t even count on … Continue reading Week Fulla Women in 90s & 00s R&B – First Listen #34: India.Arie’s ‘Acoustic Soul’

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