Jill Scott does not need to rely on showing off her body, or using nauseating amounts of sex appeal, like many of the diva-ettes that flood Mtv’s airwaves and rule the audiencecontrolled TRL.Scott’s amazing vocal ability and her seamless lyrical talents transcended
all of that when her first CD, Who is Jill Scott?, was released in 2001.
Critics hailed it as a triumph; a cool breath of air amid the sea of recycled hooks and tired, bland lyrics.
Scott has proved herself again with her second album, Beautifully Human, released on Aug. 31. On this project, Scott chooses to explore the deeper bonds in a romantic relationship, rather than focusing on the shallow, physical emphasis on love that dominates radio airplay right
now. When she does speak about sex and attraction, it is from the heart, bordering on adoration for the object of her affection; “You had that masculine thing down/Shoulders and back straight/Never Slumping/
While her first album had a funkier, hip-hop infused undertone, this one is softer and smoother, sounding more like a classic soul joint than a contemporary project. On “Talk To Me,” Scott channels Ella Fitzgerald as she scats and croons to her man, backed by a full orchestra, to tell her what’s on his mind.
Scott has said that she is “a poet first, and will die as such,” and her spoken word roots are visible on this album with “Rasool” and “Cross My Mind,” in which the artist explains that she wants to call her ex to see
“what chu been up to,” but decides against it, saying, “You were never good for me and I was never good for you.”
Although the main focus of Beautifully Human is love and romance, she does take the time to address pointed issues in the community, like gun violence and drug addiction. In “Rasool,” Scott talks about a “caramel
complected boy from the 22″ who ran the streets of Philly and was shot as a result of his actions. At the end of the song, Scott warns her audience, “The very choices you make/May make a Rasool out of you.”
As always, Scott’s lyrics are airtight and meaningful. Beautifully Human is
an aptly named album. Through her mastery of language, Scott shows how multi-faceted she is; focusing on her man, her family, her God, and her community. Emotions range from love to lust to humbleness to pride
to fear to caution, and her music makes the listener follow along with her. Critics have said that the audience should expect to be emotionally and spiritually moved, and it is an appropriate disclaimer.
In an industry that favors formula, Jill Scott’s album is a welcome diversion; a lyrical and melodic vacation from the norm.