Much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ segments, readers of That Grape Juice know what avid music lovers we are – especially of hits past. So in a quest to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday we introduced a new retrospective segment – ‘TGJ Replay’.
This week we groove to the words and sounds of Jill Scott and her critically acclaimed debut album, ‘Who Is Jill Scott?’ Join us inside:
In a musical landscape increasingly dominated by rap and booty-shaking heauxs, late 90’s R&B was seeing itself move from the slow-jam fueled front of earlier in the decade to embrace fusions with the industry’s soon-to-be reigning genre – Hip Hop.
A polarizing progression (as some saw it as evolution while others argued “conformity”), there were still a slew of artists that believed R&B’s future should be an ode to its past. Artists like Maxwell, Erykah Badu, & D’Angelo shepherded a return of early 70’s-styled rhythm & blues and, with the incorporation of then-modern R&B stylings, jazz, and poetry, birthed a new genre coined “neo-soul.” By the turn of the century, the movement may have lost some of its steam thanks to chart dominance from Hip Hop and teen Pop, but that certainly did not halt the introduction of new power players to its sect.
Enter Philadelphia-reared songstress Jill Scott and her debut album, ‘Who Is Jill Scott?: Words and Sounds Vol. 1.’ Released July 18, 2000, the project spawned four singles: ‘Gettin in the Way,’ ‘A Long Walk,’ ‘The Way,’ and ‘He Loves Me.’
‘Gettin’ In the Way’
Hot 100 Peak: N/A
‘A Long Walk’
Hot 100 Peak: #43
Hot 100 Peak: #60
‘He Loves Me’
Hot 100 Peak: n/a
Though not boasting the Hot 100 success of her neo-soul counterparts, Scott’s debut album – from a critical and artistic standpoint – stood side by side with some of the genre’s heavyweights. Her seamless incorporation of poetry and jazz-inspired licks to her already solid R&B bearings made her an easy standout among new artists in 2000. Add to this, the girl could flat out “sang.”
Boasting a booming alto that only brought her already well-wrapped package “all the way home,” Jilly from Philly made quite the statement with ‘Words & Sounds Vol 1’ – her first swing at the bat. Ultimately peaking at #17 on the Billboard 200, the project went on to gain multiple Grammy nominations including nabbing the songstress a ‘Best New Artist’ nod at the the 2001 ceremony. To date, it hovers right under the 3x platinum mark in the United States.
Undoubtedly introducing music lovers to an artistic standard she’s yet to fail to deliver some 17 years later, ‘Words & Sounds Vol. 1’ was just the presage to nearly two decades of R&B excellence. For that, we salute its place in modern R&B history.
Now, while we press play on our jam ‘The Way,’ tell us: