Throughout Jill Scott’s career, she’s been heralded as an artist in her own lane. With the release of “The Light of the Sun,” her first album to top Billboard’s Top 200 albums chart, Scott reaffirms this position.
It’s been four years since she released “The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3,” a set that offered a more aggressive side of the normally mellow songstress. Since then, she’s changed labels and had a child, announcing and then breaking off her engagement to the father, her ex-drummer. In addition to personal triumphs and woes, Scott took to the big screen, starring in Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married?, and its sequel “Why Did I Get Married Too?” as well as a lead role on HBO’s short-lived, but critically acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. With all the personal and professional achievements, Scott returns to music as if she never left.
It’s often said the best music comes from real-life experiences, The Light of the Sun is proof. The Dre and Vidal-produced “Blessed” opens the album, and sets the tone for the can be expected – an honest, almost autobiographical account of where Scott has been and where she is going. “I went to sleep stressed woke up refreshed/I’m so blessed yeah yes/My grandma almost lived to see ninety two
I’m so blessed yes /My son was born healthy and beautiful/I’m so blessed yeah/My momma’s on my right side daddy on my left my son’s father doing his absolute,” sings a reflective and optimistic Scott.
Backed by nothing more than an occasional ragtime piano and a beatbox courtesy of Doug E. Fresh, she delivers her trademark spoken-sung style on “All Cried Out Redux.” The nine-minute “Le Boom Vent Suite” finds the singer going through the motions. What begins as thumping tale of a woman moving on after a potential male suitor misses his opportunity, segues into a rippling slow-jam.
No one said the Philly native was all bark and no bite. Scott gets in touch with her seductive side on “So Gone (What My Mind Says).” “It’s a song about a girl who is being celibate because she’s respecting herself and trying to do something completely different. In the meantime, she’s still a boss and she could use a little [sex]. She gets a phone call from her girlfriend who says, ‘Why don’t you call Diamond Chip D**k?’ Diamond Chip D**k is a service where they come and please you and take the trash out when they leave,” says Scott of the Paul Wall-assisted track.
Sounding as if it’s from a Broadway musical, “Hear My Call” is an affectionate plea to God sang to orchestra-like piano and string arrangement. Wary of relationships due to past experiences, Scott opts out of taking things further on the spoken-sung “Some Other Time” and the understated “Making You Wait.” Many tracks on The Light of the Sun feel as if they were composed during jams sessions, where the singer went into the booth and began to sing from the heart. “Quick” is musical account of Scott’s failed relationship with the father of her child. “You moved into my house, gave me a son,” she sings. “Quick, the way that you left me/Quick, can’t believe it’s over.”
Jill Scott knows her self-worth and wants to spread the message of self-love. “Grown woman, making decisions and choices,” she calls herself in the song-poem, “Womanifesto.” “Utilizing everything inside of me — my soul, my heart, my mind, my voices,” she continues.
While many of her contemporaries have become stale and show no artistic growth, Jill Scott continues to reinvent and reassert herself as one of the needed voices in R&B music. Even with a four year musical hiatus, the Philadelphia chanteuse is able to return with a renewed sense of self that is both sonically and vocally refreshing.
By – Monte Alexander