Jill Scott

Here's a little tip for all of you would-be record moguls out there: If you run a hip label, and you have an album that consists mostly of the female singer coquettishly cooing like Billie Holiday and oozing such sinful lyrics as "I am not afraid to be your lady / I am not afraid to be your whore" or "You had me climbing up a wall / How many ways was God called?" then perhaps it's not a good idea to have a picture of the singer as a fifth-grader on the cover. Just looking at that cute photo as she whispers soulful sweet nothings in their ears can make the brothas feel all Woody Allen-ish.

But apart from the cover, this neo-soul beauty has few flaws. As she did on Who Is Jill Scott?, her debut of four years ago, Scott hits the mike as a multidimensional woman of color, one who is both authoritative and enlightening, yet still capable of making grown-ass men moist with her tantalizing voice.

Most of the baby-makers here are elegant and polished. Scott proclaims a woman can both be independent and need a man on the lyrically longing, acoustic-guitar-tickling "The Fact Is (I Need You)." Raphael Saadiq, a man I have yet to hear a weak-ass track from, helps out on the production of "Spring Summer Feeling," in which Scott rattles off what it takes to woo her. And then there's the downright orgasm-inducing "Not Like Crazy."

Scott also serves up a few musical portraits of black pride, such as her current radio hit "Golden" and "Family Reunion," a tale of a black family get-together ten times funnier (and more poignant) than that worthless flick The Cookout that came out a few weeks ago.

In short, Beautifully Human shows Scott continuing on her mission to stay positive, uplift her own culture and make everybody come together -- one bedroom at a time.

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Craig D. Lindsey
Contact: Craig D. Lindsey