Taalib Johnson better known as Musiq Soulchild was born and raised in Philadelphia,Pennsylvania. Being deeply inspired by 1970s soul and funk performers such as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and even George Clinton of Parliament Funkadelic, Johnson named himself Musiq Soulchild to show respect to those that paved the way for him, musically. The “q” in Musiq was to display his uniqueness. Being musically gifted he is known for creating MC’s, freestyling on open mic, or singing to strangers as he walks down the street. Having been nominated for over 12 grammy’s, the American Music Awards, the NAACP, Musiq Soulchild has proved over and over that his music is more than just words.
Growing up in a strict muslim household, Musiq used his teenage years to develop his love for music, which included dropping out of highschool. Not exactly performing to be an industry artist, Soulchild performed at schools, galleries, showcases and open mic nights. It was not until his management team signed a deal with Def Jam Records that Musiq Soulchild would debut his first song Just Friends(Sunny), which would later appear on his album Aijuswanaseing (2000). Just Friends hit RnB charts, and soon after Aijuswanaseing was released, another track Love would also hit charts. His first debut album would lead him a grammy nomination for Best Male Vocal Performance. Musiq Soulchild was signed to Def Jam records from 2000-2004. Besides Aijuswanaseing, in 2002 he would also release his second album Juslisen, and Soulstar in 2003.
Soul artists from the 1970s has influenced Soulchild to make music. Known artist such as George Clinton, Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott, D’Angelo, and Steve Wonder is what sparked Soulchild’s interest. His dad also used to play soul artist in the house all the time, therefore most of his inspiration stems from what his dad played.
Upon researching Musiq Souldchild on youtube, you will find thousands of covers, where local artist are singing versions of Musiq Souldchild’s songs. Known artist such as Kehlani, Keke Palmer have featured or covered Musiq Soulchild’s sound in their music.
Although much of Musiq Soulchild’s success can be attributed to the neo-soul and R&B hits, Soulchild has recently explained his new sound. Soulchild believes that there is a new sound to hip-hop, so to appeal to the masses he created a whole new image of what people may refer to him as. “The Husel” is seperate from “Musiq Soulchild”. The Husel is rap music. In an interview Musiq Soulchild stated “R&B is struggling right now. I like to entertain the people according to what they’re saying entertains them. As an artist, musician, songwriter, and producer, I sit back and hear it.. and if that’s what ya’ll like I can do that.”
This way any backlash from one identity does not impact the other. In essence, it was a smart decision. But did this new alter ego appeal to the masses? Musiq Soulchild does not care whether the numbers are there, the fact that people know about it, according to him, he’s already won. Under the “The Husel” he has released a mixtape self-titled “The Husel”. After giving it a listen, one can definitely say this is a new direction for Soulchild. However, he is not the first artist to change their direction. Other artist such as Chris Brown, Beyonce, and Omarion have done other genres besides R&B.
Billboard Music Award for Top R&B Artist (2001)
Billboard Music Award for Top R&B Album (2001)
Billboard Music Award for New R&B Hip-hop Artist of the Year (2001)
Bet Award for Best New Award (2001)
Bet Award for Best Male R&B/ Pop Artist (2001)
Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Local Performance – Song: “Love” (2001)
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding New Artist (2001)
Billboard Music Award Nominated for Top R&B Song – Song: “Love”
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Song – Song: “Love” (2002)
Bet Award for Best Male R&B/ Pop Artist (2002)
Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance – Song: “Half-crazy” (2002)
Grammy Award for Best R&B Album – Album: “Juslisen” (2002
MTV Video Music Award – Song: “Crazy” (2002
Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Album, Male for Album: Aijuswanaseing (2002)
Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Single.Male , Song: “Love”
Billboard Music Award for Top R&B Song, Song “Half-crazy” (2002)
American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B New Artist (2002)
Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Single, Male , Song: “Dontchange” (2003)
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Male Artist (2003)
Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Soul Album, Male . Album: Juslisen
Bet Centric Award (2007)
Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, Song” (2007)
Grammy Award for Best R&B Album , Song: “LuvanMusiq”
Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance , Song: “We’re Still Friends” (2010)
Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance for Song: “I Do”
Grammy Award for Best R&B Album, Album: “Feel the Real” (2017)
The quality of Musiq Soulchild’s music has always delivered to his audience. The upbeat and slow jams keep listeners like myself interested in his music. As others may agree, Musiq Soulchild considers himself a soul artist. In his words “It’s expressing my soul through music”. Whether it be love or relationships he knows how to attract his listeners. However, he also knows there’s more to life than love and relationships. He makes this known on his album “On my Radio”. His music is for the people and he’s willing to create content that they want to hear and not what is popular.
With this thinking, it has allowed his music to stay relevant for many years. Music is a double investment. According to Soulchild, as long as the people want to hear him, he will allow them to.
I enjoy listening to Musiq Soulchild. His music gives a refreshing sound that you don’t hear in music now a days. The content is real and the beats keep you engaged.
I’ve included a Spotify playlist below that includes a few of my favorite songs by Musiq Soulchild.