This weekend, at the Tower Theater, Philly’s biggest headliner, outside of Allen Iverson, will be coming home. Jill Scott, a North Philadelphia native, will be performing Friday and Saturday nights, with Kindred, a husband and wife group.
Scott, whose Grammy-nominated debut album Who Is Jill Scott? recently went platinum, is considered somewhat of an overnight phenomenon to the mainstream audience, but not her original fan base. Scott wrote the chorus for the 1999 Grammy-winning single “You Got Me,” by the Philadelphia hip-hop group, The Roots. Her part, however, was sung by the more well-known Erykah Badu, so Scott did not receive much recognition. (On The Roots live album, The Roots Come Alive, Scott not only sung her part, but she showed off her versatility, as well, by singing an extra eight minutes on the hit single.)
Who Is Jill Scott? has made “Jilly from Philly” an instant celebrity, earning her appearances on late-night talk shows, such as The Tonight Show and The Chris Rock Show, as well as a national tour with fellow Philadelphian Musiq Soulchild. At her last hometown appearance, Scott performed to a sold-out crowd in the Electric Factory during the holiday season to praise from critics and fans alike.
Her personable style, viewed by some as unconventional, has gained her respect and street credibility. Scott, a one-time Temple student that could be described as “thick,” the does not fit the stereotype of a current female R&B singers like Beyonce Knowles of the popular group Destiny’s Child.
Her musically diverse album features elements of spoken word, hip-hop, and go-go, a musical genre focusing on percussion that is popular in the Washington, D.C. area. Three of her singles, “Gettin’ In The Way,” “A Long Walk” and “It’s Love,” are receiving heavy radio airplay from coast to coast.
While Scott is certainly at the forefront of the “neo-soul movement” in Philly, she is certainly not alone. Artists such as the aforementioned Musiq and The Roots have also gained much respect. Many more artists, like Bilal and Kindred, are also set to have a major impact.
Kindred, a husband and wife singing duo, are among the regular performers at Black Lily, an open mic held every Tuesday at The Five Spot. They have not released an album yet, but they are featured on the Black Lily CD, a collection of singles from various artists that perform at Black Lily, such as Jaguar, the Jazzyfatnastees, Nou Ra and 3 7000 9. While they have not received the exposure outside of Philadelphia, with predecessors like Scott, they should definitely be optimistic.
People who attend either show this weekend should be prepared for a soulful, energetic and creative affair. The audience will not only get their money’s worth, but a lasting memory, as well.
Jill Scott w/ Kindred. Two shows. March 23-24. 8 p.m. Sold Out. Tower Theater. 69th & Ludlow St., Upper Darby. 215-568-3222.