WATCH: Philly Native Son Bilal's Triumphant Genre-Hopping Collab With... Miles Davis?
It may have nbeen a long time since you thought about Bilal, the Philly-born-and-bred CAPA grad/singer-songwriter who stood at the front of the whole neo-soul pack at the dawn of the 2000s. After a long hiatus, Bilal began making records again in 2010, but it could be his appearance on Miles Davis & Robert Glasper's Everything's Beautiful that finally brings Bilal back for some serious reconsideration. The album — a wild, inspired raid through raw Miles Davis tracks built upon and refashioned into a whole new thing at the hands of the Grammy-winning, genre-hopping composer Robert Glasper — could be one of those sleeper capital-A Albums that winds up staying with you for a long, long time. (It's also part of a larger celebration of the life and work of Davis, who would have been 90 this year.)
A lot of that has to do with how ambitious Glasper is here on both his midnight raid of Davis riffs as well as his extensive list of co-collaborators, which also includes Illa J, Erykah Badu, Phonte, Hiatus Kaiyote, Laura Mvula, KING, Georgia Ann Muldrow, John Scofield, Ledisi, DJ Spinna and Stevie Wonder. Make no mistake: To put it in terms Miles himself might have, this is a motherfucker of an album. And Bilal stands in as the leadoff single, as Everything's Beautiful just debuted at #1 on Billboard Jazz, #5 on R&B and #10 on Hip-Hop. That's reflective of how there's a lot going on here, but do yourself a favor and check it out yourself. Everything's Beautiful really is pretty beautiful itself.