Bilal is not just the artist’s name, but an amusing acronym: Beloved Intelligent Lustful and Living it. 1st born second is Bilal’s debut album featuring many musical genres —from hip hop and R&B to techno, Bilal paves the way for other genre-mixing artists, which may provide a mixed influence towards other up and coming artists.
Using an acronym for a name is original, but also cocky when just arriving onto the music scene. Bilal does have some prominent artists helping him pave the way into the music world. Mos Def and Common are featured on his album, but for only an instant, with almost nothing to be remembered by.
Bilal will be a presence to be remembered, if not for his voice, then for his originality with mixing musical genres. He is a strong presence musically, but he does have some faults. Lyrically, Bilal needs some help. He seems to ramble on about anything that comes into his mind, both good or bad.
He also tries to add a hardcore presence to his style, but it doesn’t work when he gives the faáade of a stylish R&B singer rather than gangster rapper. 1st born second is an eclectic mix which isn’t consistent throughout the album. From tracks two to seventeen, Bilal proves his strengths as a singer and artist — and his weaknesses as a songwriter.
1st born second opens with an intro, one that fills you in on Bilal’s identity as a seemingly audacious artist. But it also undermines his musical efforts by slipping into an unintelligent rant that forces you to move to the next track. With the presence of Mos Def and Common on track four, the listener has something to look forward to, but beware of what is to come. Bilal is a talented singer, which is evidenced on track sixteen and has the ability to control his voice when he wants to be expressive, but also wasteful in trying to be something he is not. He establishes himself as an insightful and talented artist and he must live up to it. He is man with many talents and when he uses his talents to his advantage he is a strong presence. But when he becomes pretentious, his credibility loses its flavor.
Bilal is a hard acronym to live up to, but for the majority of the album he does so. Being a beloved, intelligent, lustful, and living it man can be trying, but Bilal expresses himself through his beats and vocal range. His debut album is filled with soul and expression that gives him an edge over other new artists.
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Bilal proves to be an original new artist, one who has many talents that he expresses throughout 1st born second and overall the album is a good listen.
Once you are past the goofy intro, the presence of Bilal floats to the top of the surface allowing the listener to indulge in the artists’s ability to express himself vocally and emotionally.