Her album poised the question, Who Is Jill Scott? After much consideration, and a years worth of heaping helpings of her music, it seems that the question is now a rhetorical one. One thing we do know is that Jill Scott was born and raised in North Philadelphia. As for her childhood, well, Jill will tell you it consisted of "block parties, school bullies, cute boys, double dutch, ass whoppins, collard greens, Kool-aide, Diarys, hunger, hugs, holdin' on, lettin' go." If her childhood was poor by monetary standards, it was rich with life experiences. It was full of culture that would leave an indelible footprint on the poems and music that were to follow.
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Perhaps the seed was planted when Miss Fran Danish, Jill's eighth-grade English teacher gave her students assignments that required the writing of biographies. What was Jill's choice? Nikki Giovanni. But wait a minute, this was not an Italian lady. This was a black woman who not only shared Jill's experience but was writing her story. Thus began Jill's love affair with words. She read her poetry at places like the October Gallery and the "Black Lilly" at the Five Spot both in Philadelphia. But the words, the feelings, and public's reaction to them motivated Jill to sing and not just talk. At one of her spoken-word events, Amir ?uestlove (drummer for The Roots), heard Jill and asked her to join the band in the studio. Jill wrote "You Got Me" in five minutes, which was then performed by The Roots and Erykah Badu. The track went on to earn the 1999 Grammy for the Best Rap Performance. Shortly thereafter, Jill began to record her own music with "Jazzy Jeff" Townes. On July 18, 2000, Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1 was released. Ya'll know the story from there!
The mission of her music is simple. To be tangible proof that "it is where your from and how you choose to see it. It is where ya went and how ya got there and it is definitely where ya at." Her example has been set. But for those fienin' for another taste of soul-infused poetry, fear not, Jill says, "I'm only getting started in my development as an artist. That's why the first album is subtitled 'Words and Sounds, Vol. 1'. I have many more volumes to explore."
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