If you happened on footage of rap star Common’s Tiny Desk gig at the White House, you will know that he was accompanied by a stellar cast of musicians. One of them was soul singer extraordinaire Bilal Oliver. Though Common lavished him with props when he introduced him to the audience, many folks might still might have been clueless as to who they bearded guy with the corn rows was. But a little over a month ago he joined Erykah Badu, The Roots and other soul superstars in rendering an equally passionate and sensual tribute to the late Prince at the BET Awards. His take on ‘The Beautiful Ones’ had the audience on its feet.
These recent moves have served to remind the neo-soul/R&B scene of Bilal’s undisputed, though severely underrated talent. His star began to rise at the height of the neo-soul movement; when Erykah Badu and D’Angelo were the in thing. But contractual disputes with Interscope and other factors served to obscure Bilal’s path to mainstream acclaim. However, his 2013 album ‘A Love Surreal’ did surprisingly well, inspiring him to follow it up with ‘In Another Life‘ in 2015. Among the songs on that latest Bilal release was ‘Pleasure Toy’, a late 80s throwback that featured a guest verse from Big K.R.I.T. Not long ago he dropped the visual for this tune. It’s a basic affair which replicates the retro mood of the song. The only highlights that keep you interested are the intriguing tribal outfits and makeup on the models, and Bilal’s miniature keyboard.
Miami Based, Internationally Known