With a falsetto styled after such legendary predecessors as Prince, Bilal Oliver demonstrates on his debut album the second coming of new school r&b/hip-hop artists raised on the likes of D’Angelo and Outkast. Discovering his passion for music as a youth performing in Philly churches and hometown gospel quartets, Oliver relocated to NYC and studied jazz at Mannes Conservatory of Music before joining the D’Angelo backing band, where he gained the practical experience and confidence to venture onto his own. After some of his demos landed in the hands of Tribe called Quest members (passed along to Erykah Badu), Oliver had a deal. Mixing jazz, soul, funk and hip-hop, this is an emotional record that features guest spots from Mos Def and Common on the slick and melodious "Reminisce." Other standouts include "All that I Am," the WNBA theme "Soul Sista," and the warm, honey-drenched "Sometimes." Hailed as a "stunning debut" by URB, Vibe and media whores Rolling Stone and Time, the disc demonstrates complex, interesting harmonies and meaningful lyrics about daily urban life. Oliver calls it "truth music" because "it’s just whatever came off the top of my head," and the spontaneity is evident. Fundamentally, this is a record for people who like hip-hop themes and contemporary flavor mixed with the beauty of soulful ‘70s r&b and a healthy appreciation of jazz. Curtis Mayfield would be proud.