I'm not going to complain and moan about the sorry state of music today—how it degrades and insults and reaches for the lowest common denominator. My complaints about such things are legendary.
No, today, I want to sing praises. For Bilal. A ridiculously talented artist with a vocal range that soars with the angels and gets low with the devil and dances all through the spaces in between. He is eclectic. Insightful. Beautiful. Respectable. And respectful.
He's only had one official album release—2001's First Born Second (a second offering, Love For Sale, never made it to store shelves). But he still performs regularly; I last saw him on the stage with Common, at the Maxwell concert in North Carolina, where he and Common worked a remix of the rapper's song, Come Close to Me. Bilal was singing the hook to his hit single, Soul Sista, over Common's lyrics; he was delicious. And though access to his musical brilliance is severely limited, I adore Bilal still.
Below is the video for the song that made me love him. What choice do I have when this man, with this angelic voice, dedicates a song to doing right by his lover? Like, when does that ever show up in a song these days?
You better sing, Bilal.