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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Third Time’s A Charm

Have you ever finished a term-paper and your computer crashed leaving you with nothing? R&B singer, Bilal went though something similar. In 2005 Interscope, the record company he was affiliated with, decided to shelve his second album, Love for Sale, just after it was leaked onto the internet. Bilal took his loss in stride by turning it into a promotional opportunity. He decided to further his career instead of ending it.Now Bilal has released his third album “Airtight’s Revenge” and is parlaying his underground success into well deserved record sales.The name of the album was taken from a character in a Robert Beck novel entitled “Airtight & Me.” Beck, an ex pimp and his work has been inspired by black exploitation and later hip-hop. And although Bilal has made progress to forget his misfortune with the record company, there is still bitterness. Hence, “Revenge.”Airtight Revenge has a different feel from his previous work. It has a more refined sound. Influences form rock and electronic music are imposed over his signature sound of bass and beats. One of the stand out tracks is Move On which contains Bilal’s recognizably heartfelt lyrics about love. But there is an added guitar vamp that keeps this sentimental song danceable. Cake and Eat it too manages to be extremely funky while using a synthesizer in production and is very reminiscent of his old work.Currently on a cross country tour including a recent sold out show at Scullers in Cambridge. By first looking a bit apathetic to his audience while sipping a martini, he soon loosened up and while intermittently joking and interacting with the audience.During the set he entertained the audience with his most popular song to date, Sista Soldier, an uplifting ballad about the merits of the Black woman which successfully enlightened the ladies in the crowd. As the show came to an end, Bilal said that performing for an audience was one of his true passions. The feeling was mutual as the crowd waited for almost an hour to shake his hand. In addition to touring, one of the ways the Bilal kept himself employed since 2005 was through collaborations with other musicians. He has sung duets with many R&B notables. He is also one of the members of a Neo- Soul Soulquarians whose members boast some of the best: Erykah Badu, Mos Def and Talib Kweli. But his favorite artist to work with is former Soulquarians member, the late J Dilla. Dilla, a powerhouse producer and has worked with artists like The Roots, Da La Soul and Common among others.Bilal bares the mark of a true musician. Even with the incorporation of newtechniques like synthesizers and distortion the feel of his work has not changed.Bilal’s Airtight’s Revenge is rich and dynamic. It has been nine long year sinceBilal released his last studio album. The craftsmanship on this latest release provesit was well worth the wait.