Universal acclaim - based on 9 Critics

Critic 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
    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.
  4. Blender
    And if he occasionally errs on the side of self-indulgence... so be it; for every moment of youthful overreach, there's another that shows a promising new talent in first bloom. [Aug/Sep 2001, p.121]
  5. Urb
    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]
  6. 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.
  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...
  8. 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.
  9. Spin
    The only drawback is that in his expansiveness, Bilal forgot to give himself that killer tune or two that would bring it all home. [Sep 2001, p.158]

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 1 out of 16
  1. Jul 1, 2019
    One of the most underrated albums from the neo-soul movement. 18 years later and it’s still just as beautiful.
  2. [Anonymous]
    May 26, 2005
    This is one of the best albums of all time. Sometimes, For You, and Love Poems.. are a few of my favorites. I have been listening to this This is one of the best albums of all time. Sometimes, For You, and Love Poems.. are a few of my favorites. I have been listening to this album for years. Each time thatI hear it, I fall in love with it all over again. I cannot wait until his next project is released. Full Review »
  3. SuneR
    Apr 22, 2003
    Really good... he has a fantastic voice.