Yeah, who is she?

You heard Jill Scott before hearing her, validated her before knowing her name. Unless, that is, you were able to catch a Roots concert anytime in the past two years.

Jill Scott may be the next movement in music. Her debut, Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds, Vol. I, funks with hip-hop, poetry, deep soul and hood-clectic melodrama. It’s kinda dope, especially considering that poetry and music is an experiment in process. Jill and her production team, which includes the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff, do poetry a service by spoon-feeding easy grooves and subtle deliveries to the listener. The love-found-and-run-amok missives of “Love Rain” descend on the psyche and the message hits home more thoroughly than the typical love song. Likewise, the numerology experiment Scott uses to establish her own uniqueness on “One is the Magic #” is an intelligent tease.

There are moments on Who Is … ? when Scott sounds like she’s pushing too hard, though. On “The Way,” the clever wordplay is almost lost on a nasal, Erykah Badu-like delivery. And “He Loves Me” is a straight-up R&B that is good, but clashes against the poetic landscape of the rest of the CD.

Regardless, Words and Sounds is triumphant because it represents for singers like Laurnea and Kina, but also for wordsmiths like Saul Williams and Ursula Rucker.

Read our interview with Jill Scott.

Khary Kimani Turner writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].