Airtight's Revenge: Bilal On J. Dilla's Influence, Independent Women And The Best Kind Of Sex

It’s been a decade since Philly crooner Bilal first entered the music scene with his debut album ‘1st Born Second’. After hitting a snag with his sophomore attempt ‘Love for Sale, which leaked prematurely, he ended up parting ways with his recording home at Interscope Records. But the Grammy winning singer-songwriter finally released his follow-up album ‘Airtight’s Revenge,’ which was received with unanimous positive reviews.

From the start, Bilal’s music has shown his reluctance to stay within a box. He has flexed his creativity skills to the max to infuse sounds from different genres to create a musical masterpiece laced with stellar storytelling. Shifting from writing about real-life experiences, we got the Neosoul singer to dish to us his take on relationships and his type of woman. —Connie T.



VIBE: I’ve noticed that your latest album was more soulful & more focused on the world rather than personal experiences. Was this a conscious change?

Bilal: Nah. There’s been a progression of my life performances. I’ve been playing with a band for the last three years, and our sound has evolved into a thing that [incorporates] all of the different styles and genres of music… [We] just kind of show that in music [and] in a way that’s just the way I started to write the music. I went to school for jazz, I grew up in church, and my dad checked me into jazz course as a kid. Those three things are in my music. I studied classical music, and hip-hop is my love.

One of the main things that drives me is [what] I have learned in the past. One of the main people that have taught me are hip-hop producers. With my first album, I got to watch a lot of really dope producers do their thing. One of my main influences was J.Dilla.

J.Dilla pulled from all different genres, and he had a record collection like I’ve never seen before. In that record collection, it was everything from rock, jazz, electronic, everything. And he mixed it all into what he did – which was hip-hop. My music, I would say, is a hybrid of that – a hybrid of hip-hop. I’m not rapping, but I’m mixing a lot of concepts just like a hip-hop producer would think.

Being a singer and songwriter, has anyone ever figured out you were writing about them? Has it ever gotten you in trouble?

Yeah! I write from my experiences, but I also write from other people’s experiences. I usually never write stuff verbatim. I try to just take certain things and stretch the truth a little. I’ve gotten in trouble for that over the years. [Laughs]

Shifting gears slightly, I recall an article where you were giving some advice, where you said that men don’t want to spend hours talking about their feelings. Well, in your case, why are you so willing to put your feelings out as a songwriter, especially to people you don’t even know?

I don’t know. Sometimes it’s hard to express matters of the heart. When I make music, it’s kind of like poetry and puzzles that I’m putting together. So it’s as if I’m looking at it from a different aspect.

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Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid Reach Confidential Settlement With NFL In Collusion Case

Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid have reached a confidential settlement with the league, it was announced Friday (Feb. 15). The agreement brings an end to their collusion lawsuit against the NFL more than a year after the legal bout began.

According to Yahoo Sports, the Kaepernick and Reid only agreed to settle for a “lucrative financial agreement.” No other details about the terms of the settlement were released.

Kaepernick and Reid filed their collusion lawsuit against the NFL in October 2017. The league denied the allegations and failed in their attempt to have the lawsuit dismissed.

Attorneys Mark Geragos and Ben Meiselas said in a statement that Kaepernick and Reid have engaged in an “ongoing dialogue” with the NFL for the past “several months.”

“As a result of those discussions, the parties have decided to resolve the pending grievances,” the statement explains. “The resolution of this matter is subject to confidentiality agreement so there will be no further comment by any party.”

The NFL Players Association released a statement of support. “We are not privy to the details of the settlement, but support the decision by the players and their counsel,” the statement reads.

“We continuously supported Colin and Eric from the start of their protests, participated with their lawyers throughout their legal proceedings and were prepared to participate in the upcoming trial in pursuit of both truth and justice for what we believe the NFL and its clubs did to them. We are glad that Eric has earned a job and a new contract, and we continue to hope that Colin gets his opportunity as well.”

Jerry Jones, Bob McNair, Robert Craft and several other NFL owners and players were deposed in the case. Reid was recently signed to the Carolina Panthers. Kaepernick remains unsigned.

— Mark Geragos (@markgeragos) February 15, 2019

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Jussie Smollett attends the 2018 Fox Network Upfront at Wollman Rink, Central Park on May 14, 2018 in New York City.
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Potential Suspects Arrested In Connection To Jussie Smollett Attack

A new development has been made in the investigation surrounding the Jan. 29 attack on Empire actor, Jussie Smollett. The Chicago Police have arrested two "potential suspects" by the names of Olabinjo and Abimola Osundairo. The Nigerian brothers are United States citizens, one of which has been an extra on Fox's Empire.

"Detectives have probable cause that they may have been involved in alleged crime and we are working to corroborate the allegations and investigative timeline as our investigation continues," the police said in a statement to ABC News.

Evidence was found in the Osundairo brothers' Chicago apartment when the cops raided their home on Thursday (Feb. 14). Among the list of evidence found in their home were bottles of bleach, which was mentioned in Smollett's report. The two potential suspects were detained at Chicago O'Hare Airport Wednesday evening (Feb. 13) following a flight from Nigeria and their attorney Gloria Schmidt, has since spoken out to clear their names.

"When they first learned what happened to him, they were horrified. This is someone they know, someone that they work with, so they don't want to see somebody go through that," Schmidt said in a statement to the Chicago CBS station WBBM. "They really don't understand how [police] even got information that linked them to this horrific crime, but they're not guilty of it."

Smollett has had to deal with rumors surrounding the fact that his attack may have been "staged" or a "hoax" by the actor himself. The 36-year-old actor appeared on Good Morning America to clear up the hearsay.

"I have to acknowledge the lies, and the hate," Smollet said to Robin Roberts. "And it feels like if I had said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me much more. A lot more, and that says a lot about the place that we are in our country right now."

The Chicago Police also released a statement of their own on Thursday evening (Feb. 14).

"While we haven't found any video documenting the alleged attack, there is also no evidence to say that this is a hoax," Chicago police said to ABC News. "The alleged victim is being cooperative at this time and continues to be treated as a victim, not a suspect."

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Tekashi 6ix9ine's Guilty Plea Sees Rapper Confess To Selling Drugs, Robbery And More

Since striking a deal with the U.S. government to evade a life sentence connected to a racketeering case that has left him in federal prison, Tekashi 6ix9ine has pled guilty to a plethora of violent crimes, Billboard reports.

Detailing his initiation into the Nine Trey Bloods, 69 reportedly became affiliated with the gang in 2017, which coincidently marks the launch of his rap career.

In order to complete the requirements of the deal, Tekashi, born Daniel Hernandez, also admitted to the firearms offense including the attempted murder of an individual on March 20, 2018, the documents state. Two other incidents have been added to the list of evidence stacked against the young rapper, including the infamous Cheif Keef shooting which took place in June in New York City.

If you recall, the Keef attack was the same shooting where Hernandez was recorded issuing the hit on his rival. VIBE previously reported Kintea "Kooda" McKenzie took $10,000 of the $20,000 offer to carry out the hit. McKenzie was arrested Feb. 8 in connection to this crime and is currently facing a possible life sentence with a mandatory minimum of 10 years.

Among gun possession and contract killing, the "Gummo" rapper is pleading guilty to having "possessed [heroin] with the intention to distribute." Hernandez is currently behind bars, where he will remain until his sentencing on Jan 23, 2020.



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