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1st Born Second

1st Born Second

4.6 22
by Bilal

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"I have no fear," exclaims 22-year-old Bilal (Beloved, Intelligent, Lustful, and Livin' It) on the improvisational-sounding church jam session "Sometime," from this breathtaking debut. And it's that fearlessness that sets the Philly-born, classically trained singer-songwriter apart from his neo-soul contemporaries. Prior to the disc's much-buzzed-about and


"I have no fear," exclaims 22-year-old Bilal (Beloved, Intelligent, Lustful, and Livin' It) on the improvisational-sounding church jam session "Sometime," from this breathtaking debut. And it's that fearlessness that sets the Philly-born, classically trained singer-songwriter apart from his neo-soul contemporaries. Prior to the disc's much-buzzed-about and long-delayed release, Bilal's cachet as a member of the progressive soul collective the Soulquarians -- which includes Erykah Badu, D'Angelo, and the Roots' drummer Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson -- landed him standout guest shots on Common's Like Water for Chocolate and Guru's Streetsoul. But on 1st Born Second, Bilal steps front-and-center with a daring charisma and a cocky, sexually charged approach that hasn't been heard since the Artist once again known as Prince started making sense. On the intoxicating, Raphael Saadiq-produced "Soul Sista" (originally from the Love & Basketball soundtrack) and the jazzy, James Poyser-produced "When Will You Call," the falsetto-prone Bilal matches the seductive, Princely presence of his Soulquarians soulmate D'Angelo. His obvious influences aside, however, Bilal is anything but derivative. Throughout the 17-song disc, he convincingly tackles subject matter both lighthearted (the breezy ode to lost love "Reminisce," featuring Mos Def and Common) and heavy-handed (the chilling black-on-black crime depiction "Second Child"), and his uninhibited vocals adapt as well to lazy hip-hop beats (the Dr. Dre-produced "Fast Lane") as they do to sunny, out-of-sync R&B grooves (the Mike City-produced "Love It"). On the disc's intro, the petite, dreadlocked singer humbly proclaims himself "a shining star here to break you off a bar," and he more than fulfills that prophecy. As Prince once mused, "This is not music, this is a trip."

Product Details

Release Date:
Interscope Records

Related Subjects


  1. Intro
  2. For You
  3. Fast Lane
  4. Reminisce featuring Mos Def and Common
  5. All That I Am
  6. Sally
  7. Sometimes
  8. Love It
  9. C'mere (Skit)
  10. Soul Sista
  11. When Will You Call
  12. Queen of Sanity
  13. Love Poems
  14. You Are
  15. Home
  16. Slyde
  17. Second Child

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bilal   Primary Artist,Drums,Clavier
Sid McCoy   Narrator
James Poyser   Organ,fender rhodes
Mike Starr   Guitar
Serban Ghenea   Guitar
Aaron Comess   Bass,Drums
Tom Coster   Keyboards
Mike Elizondo   Guitar,Keyboards
Mos Def   Rap
Mike City   Multi Instruments
Mel-Man   Keyboards
Mike Moreno   Guitar
Robert Glasper   Keyboards,Keyboard Accordian

Technical Credits

Andres Levin   Engineer
James Poyser   Producer
Jon Smeltz   Engineer
Kendal Stubbs   Engineer
Aaron Comess   Producer,Engineer
Raphael Saadiq   Producer
Jay Dee   Producer
Mike City   Producer
Artemio Villeda Martín   Executive Producer
Dahoud Darien   Producer
James Hurt   String Arrangements
Damu Mtume   Executive Producer
Drew FitzGerald   Art Direction
Mel-Man   Producer
Vidal Davis   Producer,Engineer
Bilal   Producer
Soulquarians   Producer

Customer Reviews

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1st Born Second 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
TherzaCox1 More than 1 year ago
This is a very exceptional CD. The music is strong and sensual. The Passion in Brother Bilal's voice is very moving. It overflows through me like a river. Beautiful music full of soul and thunder. I love it!!! It's fantastic!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought he was a joke! After listening to a sample of the album, I thought, ''Oh no, a DeAngelo knockoff.'' I gave it another chance, and bam! I was surprised by the quality music production and well written lyrics. Knockoff or not, this is a superb freshman project. My hat's off to Bilal.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This man was a desired collection piece long before the marvelous, soulful joint ''soul sista''. This man brings true energy to writing, singing and performing which hasn't been done nor came close by any male artist lately outside of D'Angelo. ''Love It'', his second release was a beautiful song in my ears, but once again radio ignored talent for trend and decided to play industry B.S. ''Love Poems'' at the moment, is my favorite track on the CD but that could change by tomorrow or next week. ''Sometimes'' takes me into the mind of Bilal to explore his thoughts and wishes of being ''drug free'' and other twisted thoughts. Additional vocals by Common, Jadakiss and Mos Def, production by Amir ?uestlove Thompson, Dr. Dre and others. If there was one wish to God before he took you off this earth, ask him for a 20 spot to purchase this CD and 3 hours to enjoy it and die in a soulful bliss.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Some people can scream and croon and it works (ex: D'Angelo). But in this case, it hurt my ears. I love poetry and R&B, but this was not a good mix. When he wasn't talking, he was whining. I wasn't feeling any songs but the radio singles.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love love love this CD I was late buying it but it is sooooo good his voice is like whoa, song like whoa brotha has it going on it's refreshing to hear something soulful and new.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best CD's that I have listened to in the past couple of years (besides my girl, Jill Scott). I love his voice, it's so soulful. I also enjoy the live instrumentation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I must say that when I first heard this young man's voice, it made me envision something positive and powerful for our people. It made me feel that we each have somehing deep within ourselves. And the fact that on his album credits he said' thanx to D'angelo for opening the door. The music that you guys are putting forth is like a new revolution in sound and in spirit. In Islamic culture it is said that Bilaal brought about a harmony for his people. I'm feeling this albumn. '' New Mind/ New Soul/ New Being''
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recently attended a Bilal concert in Chicago and he was amazing. The energy he projects on the stage was incredible. I know his album is going to be the best soul creation of the year. Every song he sang at the concert was great and I would recommend everyone to pick up his joint when it drops on the 31st.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best albums of the year, no question. What really impresses me is that Bilal's voice is so different from everyone elses (except for the fact that he has a tendency to sound like Prince sometimes). I probably play ''For You'' ten times a day alone. The Common and Mos Def-assisted ''Reminisce'' is noteworthy, and of course ''Fast Lane'' is evil (as in good). Besides a few slip ups (the out-of-place ''Sally'') you gotta give it up to this cat. Hopefully, he'll be around for years.
Guest More than 1 year ago
the soul that this brova emits is beyond the comprehensions of average man and to sleep on this record is to walk past a revolution...i'm tellin you brova is that good...and his beautiful dreds...need i say more...his consciousness and his voice and his style really compliment eachother...and yo believe that. this cat is mad illustriously ill...his music is the anodyne to todays madness...so check it out aiight...ONE
Guest More than 1 year ago
He's the best of all the genre's that we created wrapped into one. The best male r&b/soul singer that's come out in years! Highly underated but greatly appreciated by this listener.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album has not left rotation since I picked it up while visiting New York. This brother is a lyrical genius. It is a wonder that everyone hasn't given him credit for his ability to take a song and apply so much soul and heart into it. Songs like ''Queen of Sanity'' show so much depth that it is hard for me to believe that the song was written by man. Amazing to know that one person can possess that much ability... that is power. To all of my black people, track 17 ''Born as a second child'' Don't Sleep!!! Its for you!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is a must buy!!!! I loved it and recommend it for everyone and the messages that he sends forth are very helpful the music is great the lyrics are great and the content is very great for lovers and people hurt by love. I say everyone should have a copy of this album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This albulm is just simply amazing! Apart from D'angelo's albulm, this is the best male r&b albulm that I've heard in a while. From beginning to end, the mellow beats and his creative singing style, will just simply capture you. And to think this is only his first albulm! This is already a classic!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had the pleasure of seeing him perform before his album dropped. He is phenomenal and an excellent performer and I love his album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album makes me want to do somethings.... I got it Tues. and have not stopped. I even put it on my work cd-rom so I can hear it wherever I'm. I saw him in concert (Norfolk VA) he was off the chain one of the best I''ve been to this year right up there with my girl Jill Scott!! Philly is holding it down!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD is great on so many levels. First off it covers a lot of musical ground from jazz, funk, hip-hop to blues and soul and reggae. Its definitely not just a CD for R&B lovers. Its got the perfect balance of old and new school sounds. There's flava on this CD for everyone - ''Soul Sista'' for the lovers of R&B, ''Home'' has some tight reggae beats, and of course the jazzy ''Second Child'' are just some of my fav's. His collabos with Mos Def and Common on ''Reminisce'' are a nice mix. Not to mention the funky beat Dre adds to ''Fast Lane''. I wouldn¿t classify Bilal as ''neo-soul'', his diversity and vocal ability puts him above any label, with this CD Bilal proves he can hold his own.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album was pathetically predictable, consistently commercial. I get the point that he can sing but being an artist is about so much more then singing in your falsetto and falling down into a low note. Give me more! Give me introspection! Give me soul from the pit of your stomach that most people never get to see! Not trite, redundant, contrived, music that's classified as neo-soul cuz someone with locs or an Afro is singing. Just cuz he isn't singing about drugs & money he is amazing...??? People wake up and order Sade, Meshell or Prince before you take this ear candy as art. The intro -- I thought it was Vanity or Apollonia making a come back. He talks in this wispy voice I guess trying to be androgynously sexy. DIDNT WORK. The rest of the album wails thru like a Prince and D'Angelo tribute record. With songs titled For You (how many songs have we heard called For You?), Sometimes and Home, he suffers with a fatal case of no originality. You know you are doomed when your song titles have all been songs at least three times in the past 10 years. Now he CAN sing but it is simply a clichéd wail. It sounds like a bunch of notes are thrown into a windstorm and they land wherever they may crash. Also, the album is WAY too overproduced. What was he going for (or the label)? He blandly wails... Sometimes, hey slim, you should be nicer than you are Sometimes, you take that complaining s***t way too far Sometimes, then it wouldn't hurt me so bad With dreams of knocking you in your head Then it wouldn't hurt me so bad With our kitchen knife put up your a** HUH? Is this really provocative and deep? This reads like he had problems rhyming and stretched to be "sarcastic" but fell into the lyrical arena of Limp Bizkit meets Ricky Martin. If this is what is called r&b/soul music for this century then I am scared to see what lies ahead in the future. R&B has taken an extreme fall w/ this wave of contrived, predictable and trite "soulessters."
Guest More than 1 year ago
The soul and essence of this man is beyond breathtaking! This CD was pushed back a numerous amount of times and let me just tell you that each time it was pushed back, it probably got better. Each track grabs the perfection of Bilal's voice and excentuates his true depiction of what soul and R&B used to be back in the days! Can I just say that the track with Mos Def and Common only proves that Hip Hop isn't all 2Pac and Biggie, but the combination of soul, R&B, and lyricism. ''Sometimes'', produced by ?uestlove of The Roots, also is fabulous!!!! This CD is definitely worth buying and I recommend it to anyone who truly loves the art and soul of R&B music.
jessiyalighten More than 1 year ago
I bought this CD my freshman year in college, in 2000, and it's still a classic. My friend describes Bilal perfectly, by saying that he was before his time. He sings about the human condition and its struggle with relationships and societal ills. This music takes on a very unique tone and mood that is unlike any other album you have probably ever heard. If you love Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, etc. you will love this CD! BUY IT!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
To summarize this album with my own words would be a dis-service to how deep it really is. Sometimes an album is so personal, that it means something different and unique for each person. Bilal's album is that and more...A flash of soulful briliance that the airwaves have not heard in a while. Love poems is possibly one of the most melodic, soothing songs that I have heard. With its lush bassline and the harmonic background vocals, the song messhes in a perfect mix of soul and poetry. ''You are'' is a reflection of the 70's style prince funk, and it delivers. The sound will take you away and have you smiling as you you find yourself periodically singing the words in the middle of work or in the kitchen. It is an album that will make you smile, remember that first love, and think about what it means to be alive. The song fast lane also hit hard the idea that Bilal is coming from a genuine, and ''real'' perspective with his music. He shows himself to be a lyricist that provokes thought in the genre of Marvin Gaye's what is going on, but with a funkier flavor. I wouls say this is the best debut soul production since D'Angelo's first CD. A true desert album classic....!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I I'm totally fascinated with Bilal's voice and vocal range.He is extraordinary!