1st Born Second Image
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 9 Critics What's this?

User Score
9.4

Universal acclaim- based on 9 Ratings

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  • Summary: The debut album from 22-year-old Bilal Oliver features production work from Raphael Saadiq, Dr. Dre, Mike City and James Poyser. The first single is "Soul Sista," which originally appeared on the Love and Basketbal soundtrack.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. 100
    It delivers the ultimate knockout--sticky R&B grooves and a heavenly falsetto that point to greats like Marvin Gaye ("Soul Sista") and Stevie Wonder ("Queen Sanity").
  2. A truly passionate and expressive collection of songs that will live long in the memories of all who listen to it.
  3. 80
    While the debut from the classically trained Philly native runs a little long, it's still an impressive and diverse hack at that tricky hip-hop/soul niche. [Sep 2001, p.148]
  4. 80
    Sharing with Marvin Gaye and D'Angelo the ability to sing in forceful anger while seducing you with sweet talk, this 22-year-old Philadelphia singer positions himself to become the next great soul man.
  5. While Bilal's vocal gymnastics -- high-arching notes, off-rhythm choruses and complex harmonies -- add texture to these songs, many of them sound too musically similar to everything else in the neo-soul movement. He's at his best on the tracks that he or his partner, Dahoud Darien, have produced themselves.
  6. The overreaching inevitably hurts the disc's consistency in spots, but it's easy to admire Bilal's ambition, and when it works, it works well. He can't quite do it all, but he does what he can as well as anyone out there, making 1st Born Second sound like the first highlight in a compelling career.
  7. If it isn't quite the debut that new soul touchstones like D'Angelo's Brown Sugar and Erykah Badu's Baduizm were, it's certainly far more ambitious...

See all 9 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5