Perhaps one of the century's most underrated R&B artists is Bilal, who was part of the famed Soulquarians collective during their heyday. Now an independent artist, Bilal turns 36 years old today (Aug. 11).

Despite his underrated standing, the consensus is that he's one of the most talented, soulful singers working today.  He's contributed to some of last decade's finest albums, including Common's Like Water for Chocolate, Erykah Badu's Mama's Gun and Talib Kweli's Quality.

Bilal has released four acclaimed albums in his career. Love for Sale, Bilal's original second album, leaked onto the Internet and got shelved by Interscope because it didn't see the object's commercial appeal.

That headache is in the past, though. Bilal's most recent album, In Another Life, dropped late in June, and he got extra attention after being featured prominently on Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly. It looks like Bilal will continue going down the conscious lane after his late career success.

“I just want to wake people up,” Bilal said in an interview with BET when he talked about his latest project. “It's important to make stuff that makes people think, because we're making things that speak to the times that we're in."

"We have to make something that people of the future can go back to and say, ‘Yo, this is the way it felt back then,'" he continues. "When my kids put this s--- on for their kids, they'll be like, ‘You want to know why we're all crazy? Listen to this album. This is your crazy-ass grandpops.’”

Watch Bilal's "Money Over Love" Featuring Kendrick Lamar

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