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Bilal Returns With ‘Airtight’s Revenge’

Grammy-nominated neo-soul singer Bilal released his seminal debut ’1st Born Second’ nearly a decade ago, but after label entanglements and years of being relegated to guest appearances on others’ songs, he’s finally getting a second shot. The falsetto crooner has signed a deal with Plug Research Music to release his highly anticipated follow-up, ‘Airtight’s Revenge,’ set for released on September 14.

While fans may expect the same sort of cushy soul grooves found on his debut, the Philly native expanded his musical horizons for the album. “It’s a mix of jazz, hip-hop, soul, blues, and experimental free music,” he said, noting tracks like ‘Who R U,’ ‘Robots’ and ‘Little Ones’ were inspired by the 2007 documentary ‘Zeitgeist: The Movie,’ socio-economic issues and his sons, respectively.

‘Airtight’s Revenge’ sees co-producer Steve McKie (Jill Scott, Estelle) helping Bilal out behind the boards for the entirety of the project, while producers Nottz (Kanye West, Drake), 88-Keys (Mos Def, Musiq Soulchild), Shafiq Husayn of Sa-Ra (Erykah Badu, John Legend) and Tone Whitefield lend their talents to a few other tracks on the album.

Since ’1st Born Second’ debuted back in 2001, during the height of the neo-soul movement, the album has sold upwards of 300,000 copies. The album spawned the singles ‘Fast Lane’ featuring Jadakiss and ‘Soul Sista,’ cementing Bilal, full name Bilal Sayeed Oliver, as one of the premier artists of the neo-soul movement.

Bilal planned to release his sophomore album ‘Love For Sale,’ a more experimental work than its predecessor, back in 2006, but was put on ice when his label Interscope Records indefinitely shelved the project after deeming the album unmarketable. Since then, he’s lent his vocals to songs by Solange, Scarface, Erykah Badu, Jay-Z, Clipse and Common, among others. Welcome back, Bilal.

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