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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Slick Woods Reveals Skin Cancer Diagnosis

Slick Woods is battling skin cancer. The 23-year-old model revealed that she will undergo chemotherapy treatment in an Instagram post on Tuesday (Nov. 19).

Woods later confirmed to The Shade Room  that she has stage 3 melanoma, and its reportedly spreading. Woods is “fighting for her life,” according to the website.

Stage three melanoma is an advanced form of the skin cancer that can spread from the skin cells to the lymph nodes. As reported by, a 2016 medical study found that black people are less likely to contract skin cancer, but more likely to be diagnosed in later stages.

Despite the cancer diagnosis, Woods appears to be keeping her spirits up. She shared another message on Instagram this week captioned, “Stop treating me like a victim.”

The Los Angeles native, whose birth name is Simone Thompson, has worked with Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu, Yeezy and more. She is best known for appearing in numerous fashion campaigns for Rihanna’s ever-expanding Fenty empire, even while pregnant. Woods went into labor shortly after walking in Rihanna's Savage x Fenty fashion show last year.

She welcomed her son, Saphir, in September 2018.


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How I feel about chemotherapy, shout out to everyone that gotta go through it #atleastimalreadybald

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Stop treating me like a victim

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Chris Brown And His Ex-Girlfriend Reportedly Welcome Baby Boy

Chris Brown has become a father for the second time. According to numerous reports, Brown's ex-girlfriend, Ammika Harris gave birth to their son on Wednesday (Nov. 20). Neither Brown nor Harris have publicly confirmed the birth but fans suspected the reported baby news after the 30-year-old singer shared two cryptic posts on Instagram late Wednesday.

In one image, which fans believe was snapped at a hospital, Brown is seen looking down and smiling. He captioned the photo with the date, "11.20.19."  A second post features Brown wearing a sweatshirt with the words, “Born” on the hood.


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A post shared by CHRIS BROWN (@chrisbrownofficial) on Nov 20, 2019 at 10:10pm PST


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A post shared by CHRIS BROWN (@chrisbrownofficial) on Nov 20, 2019 at 10:34pm PST

Harris also pointed posted to her Instagram Story, “I was in love with you the moment I first saw you,” TMZ reports.

The newborn is the first child for Harris and the second for Brown, who has a 5-year-old daughter, Royalty. Although Breezy has never directly addressed rumors about Harris being pregnant he may have dropped at least one clue. In May, Brown commented “BM BAD” on Harris’ Instagram account leading fans to believe that he was referring to her as his baby’s mother.

Aside from reportedly welcoming a new bundle of joy, the Virginia native’s “No Guidance” collaboration with Drake received a Grammy nod on Wednesday. Brown is also up for two  trophies at the 2019 American Music Awards, which air live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, on Nov. 24.

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Rapsody Unloads Arsenal Of Bars For Funk Flex Freestyle

After putting out one of music's most impressive and sonically-pleasing albums this year, Rapsody continues her lyrical onslaught with Funk Flex's latest freestyle episode. On Nov. 21, Hot 97 published the North Carolina native's 4-minute verbal exercise on its YouTube page, already amassing nearly 27,000 views.

"Y'all was taking L's/I used to them to spell Allah/That's God flow, Rakim/Y'all be on that rah rah, all cap/I called Kap, he ain't pick up receivers/Jay was kicking game, I was open enough to receive it/Y'all was on my head like 'Not Rap, I can't believe it!'/Knowing my moves would make sense one day like Jason Weaver," she rapped.

On Wednesday morning (Nov. 20), the Grammys announced its 2020 nominees. Rapsody and her Eve album were shut out, leading fans and critics alike to become baffled by the Recording Academy's oversight. On Instagram, Rapsody opened up about the snub but overall remains optimistic with an unshakable talent.

"Frustrated...beyond. But, you have to tell yourself the good fight is never an easy one," she wrote. "And the people that are the faces of the purpose behind your art are what makes creating not empty: with awards, nominations, or none at all."


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Thank you for the LOVE you award me. I see you. The ones who lend me your ear, words, support. Every time. I rarely, if ever, show my cards or that I’m human when it comes to my music career. Feel like opening up some today, tho. Today.....disappointed. Yes. Frustrated...beyond. But, you have to tell yourself the good fight is never an easy one. And the people that are the faces of the purpose behind your art are what makes creating not empty: with awards. nominations, or none at all. Not to hold you, the acknowledgment for your craft indeed feels amazing!! I haven’t been nominated for much but what I have I’m thankful for. There’s so much power and weight in numbers, nominations and awards....we artist know what that does for our exposure; and for the many, validation. And you want people to continue to discover and play and be inspired by the music. That’s what I get excited about anyway. But, hey....we keep on creating. @freddiegibbs put out one of the best everyone nominated for anything all artist who create....keep the microphone, pens, visuals, instruments lit. Art is too important not to share. Mad love. ♥️

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Watch the freestyle up top.

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