Rolling Stone - 8/2/01, p.643.5 stars out of 5
- "...Remarkable...the excitement sparks from Bilal's restless willingness - as a singer, songwriter and producer - to make his own rules, to try anything..."
Spin - 9/01, p.1587 out of 10
- "...This sounds like it should have come with a complimentary bottle of Kama Sutra oil..."
Entertainment Weekly - 6/29-7/6/01, p.144
"...One of the best 'nuevo' soul albums of the year..." - Rating: A-
Q - Summer/01, p.963 stars out of 5
- "...[Potently] impressive..."
Mixmag - 8/01, p.1874 out of 5
- "...Brilliant...this is drunken soul....sitting alongside some of the finest soul of the past 3 decades..."
Vibe - 9/01, p.2424.5 discs out of 5
- "...Undoubtedly one of the best R&B albums of the year..."
NME (Magazine) - 7/21/01, p.327 out of 10
- "...There are intriguing arrangements, innovative beats, and amazing flashes of inspiration. Bilal has soul..."
Personnel includes: Bilal Oliver (vocals, Clavinet, organ, keyboards, vibraphone, drums); Mike "Starr" Steverson, Serban Ghenea, Eran Tabib, Mike Moreno (guitar); KC Benjamin, Laron Thomas, Markus Strikland (horns); James Poyser (organ); Robert Glasper, Mike Elizondo (keyboards); Rene Hart (upright bass); Aaron Comess (bass, drums); Pat Mc'Clam (bass); Gintas Jansonis, Amhir "?uestlove" Thompson (drums).
Producers include: Bilal Oliver, Dr. Dre, Raphael Saadiq, James Mtume, Aaron Comess.
Engineers include: Vidal Davis, Ken Stubbs, Tony Prendent.
Personnel: Bilal (drums); Mos Def (rap vocals); Mike Elizondo (guitar, keyboards); Mike Starr, Serban Ghenea, Mike Moreno (guitar); James Poyser (Fender Rhodes piano, organ); Mel-Man, Robert Glasper , Tom Coster, Jr. (keyboards); Aaron Comess (drums).
Audio Mixers: Steve Mandel; Greg Burns ; Jim Danis; John Tyree; Andres Levin; Russell Elevado; Serban Ghenea; Alan Mason.
Recording information: ? Studio; ATOJ Studios, Phila., PA; Battery Studio, New York, NY; Encore Studios, Burbank, CA; His House Studios, New York, NY; Interscope Studios; Record One Studios; The Lab, Detroit, MI; The Studio, Philadelphia, PA; Westlake Studios, Hollywood, CA.
Easily at home bouncing between a soothing croon and a goose-bump inducing falsetto, Philly-born and classically trained, 22-year-old Bilal's (Beloved, Intelligent, Lustful, and Livin' It) impressive talent quickly caught the ears of quite a few famous fans. This reputation soon led to appearances on Common's LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE and touring as part of D'Angelo's Soulquarians musical outfit. For his stellar debut, the young singer-songwriter with roots in the church and a deep appreciation of Miles and The Duke cast his net wide and came up with material that draws from a wide area of the black musical experience.
Highlights abound and include Dr. Dre showing up in production mode to pump plenty of jeep-beats into a cautionary tale of the street ("Fast Lane"), a Philly International soul-meets-Kingston-reggae hybrid ("Home") and a smooth-flowing throw-down with Mos Def and Common ("Reminisce"). On slow jam cuts like the Raphael Saadiq-produced "Soul Sista," (which first appeared on the LOVE & BASKETBALL soundtrack) and "You Are" Bilal sparingly wields his falsetto in a manner reminiscent of legends like Marvin Gaye, Al Green and Curtis Mayfield. Like Prince before him, Bilal is a multi-faceted talent whose got enough game to quash any inklings of unwarranted hype.