Ranking the Best Jill Scott Albums

Over the past year or so, thanks to pandemic oppression, I’ve been binging more YouTube content than ever before. But since I’m a cheapskate and refuse to spring for a premium account, that means I’m stuck watching roughly 17 ads for every 5 minute video.

That means I see this spot countless times a day.

Thankfully it’s not so bad when Jill has the voice of an angel.

Jill Scott is the epitome of right place, right time. Her introduction into the R&B scene in 2000 coincided with the rise of the neo-soul movement, branching away from the sample-heavy and hip-hop-tinged sounds of the moment to embrace jazzier, more soulful efforts. Her connection with listeners made her a pre-eminent voice of Black womanhood in the new millennium – a run that still runs strong today.

So you know how we do around here – time to look back at Jilly from Philly’s landmark career, ranking her LPs from bottom to best. Quality, consistency and impact are the name of the game. As always, we’re skipping live albums and compilations; studio albums only.

Think about it, this woman can make boring insurance ads works of art. There’s nothing she can’t do.

5. Woman (2015)

Soul In Stereo ranking: 3.5 stars out of 5

Read our review here

Edd said: Jill’s most recent release might wind up on the tail end of this list, but it’s far from a failure. Woman is quite the rollercoaster of emotion, featuring Jill’s usual brand of introspection, real talk and sensuality. Unlike most of her albums, though, Woman starts to lack cohesion on the second half – losing that connective tissue between tracks lowers this one slightly.

Forgotten favorites: “Can’t Wait,” “You Don’t Know,” “Jahraymecofasola”

4. The Light of the Sun (2011)

Soul In Stereo ranking: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Jill’s first album after a four-year hiatus and split from her Hidden Beach label proved that she hadn’t lost a step. Obviously it feels distinctly unique from her original trilogy but all the elements that make a great Jill Scott project remained. Live instrumentation – from big horns to Doug E Fresh’s beat box – provide a very organic feel. This LP also features the peak of her trademark conversational vocal delivery. It might not boast the hits of her earlier works but it’s a big win.

Forgotten favorites:  “Le BOOM Vent Suite,” “Hear My Call,” “Shame (What my Mind Says)”

3. The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3 (2007)

Soul In Stereo ranking: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: On the opening track, Jill shouts out every musical styling you can think of – bebop, hip-hop, R&B, classical, country, soul, the works. The Real Thing lives up to that proclamation. Jill branches out a bit sonically on this one, venturing away from neo-soul roots to embrace new sounds, and it works very well. You can tell she’s having fun playing outside her comfort zone as she dabbles in this new sonic playground but she wisely doesn’t stray too far from her script. It still feels like a Jill Scott album. The first half of the set is solid, but it’s the second half when things REALLY hit another level. It’s probably the sleeper hit of her discography.

Forgotten favorites: “Crown Royal,” “Wanna Be Loved,” “All I”

2. Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2 (2004)

Soul In Stereo ranking: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Jill’s sophomore album was quite the career milestone. Not only was it her first No. 1 album, “Cross My Mind” landed her first Grammy win. No sophomore slump here. Overall, it builds upon the foundation of her debut, boasting the same lessons on life, love and love making. Her underrated storytelling is in full display here too – I still want to try her girl’s famous green potato salad. In terms of quality, it’s nearly identical to The Real Thing, just slightly more consistent overall.

Forgotten favorites: “Talk To Me,” “Can’t Explain (42nd Street Happenstance),” “My Petition”

1. Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1 (2000)

Soul In Stereo ranking: 4 stars out of 5

Edd said: Yeah, I bet you knew which album was No. 1 before you clicked on this link and there’s a reason for that. It’s safe to say we hadn’t seen anything like Jill when she literally strolled on the scene in the “Gettin’ In the Way” video in 2000 – the cool yet relatable girl from around the way who celebrated womanhood and her man, and would quickly throw hands with anyone who interfere with that. That Vaseline line in “Gettin In the Way” had the streets buzzing back then, trust me. Her warm soul, poetic lyrics and unabashed realness made her an instant star. Home to her most beloved tracks and most infamous lyrics (“griiiiiiiiiiiiits”), Who is Jill Scott? is Jilly’s magnum opus.

Forgotten favorites: “Watching Me,” “Slowly Surely,” “Love Rain (Head Nod Mix)”

What’s your favorite Jill Scott album? Let us know below.



  1. I think her second album is her best work. The first album is her most revered, but the second one was a better album and they both deserved 5 out of 5

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