Last year singer/songwriter Bilal burst back onto the scene with his official sophomore release, Airtight’s Revenge. Although he’s an industry vet and continued to dazzle fans from Brooklyn to Bangkok while his album, Love for Sale, languished on the shelf due to label politics and massive bootlegging, Bilal managed to carve out a spot for himself and build a loyal following inspite of the setbacks.
Ten years after his critically acclaimed debut, First Born Second, Bilal is back at it again, and this time, he’s doing it on his terms.
Last year I had the opportunity to chat with Bilal as he prepared to take the stage in Los Angeles and release Airtight’s Revenge. Although we talked about everything from his musical influences to his three-year-old son, one thing kept coming up again and again—his love for music.
Above all else, Bilal is a musician and he’s not afraid to see where it will take him, even if that means he’s outside of the mainstream of what’s considered “black music.”
“As a black artist they pin you into this one thing…the way you should be and then everybody else gets to test the waters and see what this is, but it wasn’t always like this for black music. But it’s become really corporate and everybody, I feel like, has to catch up.”
Is he bitter about all of the challenges he’s faced so far? Not even close.
“All this crap that I’ve been through with the bootlegging stuff, it didn’t kill the love inside of me, it didn’t kill this drive and this want to make more music…it’s still here and I still got love.”
And we’re so glad he does.