From the moment Jill Scott hit the scene nationally in 2000, she was a force. While she got dropped into the earthy-crunchy, neo-soul bucket of the late 90s and early aughts—I think being both from Philly, the epicenter of the movement if it had one, and the “sound” of her music helped this categorization—Jill to me pretty much always made music for the regular-degular folks. The songs on her first album are both poetry and real life. And the first single, “Gettin’ In The Way” is proof-positive of this. And the video was one of the realest testaments to this ever.
At his behest, Jill answers her man’s landline cordless phone (y’all remember when that was a thing) and as soon as the person on the other end hears Jill’s voice she hangs up. As we learn from the video, it happens to be her man’s ex. And that’s where the shits start. Because it’s 2000 and the ex didn’t hit that *67 action before making the call, Jill’s is able to *69 her, call her back and attempt to explain to the ex that its over and that she needs to fall back. Now, my guess is that her man has been too nice in this situation. He doesn’t seem to be cheating since he asked Jill to answer the phone, but he probably ain’t forcefully letting the ex know she needs to chill.
But Jill ain’t the one, honey. No she ain’t. And she’s from North Philly. When the ex hangs up on Jill, she looks at the phone as if it has cursed her out. So Jill does the only reasonable thing to do in a video about a song called “Gettin’ In The Way,” she walks out her door and marches to the ex’s house to lay down the law in person. She lets her know that she’s trying to be nice but the earrings are about to come off and the vaseline is on-deck. Now, because folks in the ‘hood know what time it is, they all follow her to the ex’s house so they can both place bets and watch the free show.
The ex does her best “I ain’t sweatin’ you” pride stance. She acts like she’s about that action but this woman just showed up at her front door and the whole neighborhood is prompt and present. And then Jill ramps it up, snatching the wig off the ex’s head and instead of that being the jump off point for the fight, the ex stomps back off into her house, knowing that she’s lost the day. I’ll bet she still calls the dude, again, but for this video, Jill is the victor and the hero.
This video is pantheon-level relatable content. Jill’s whole first album is perfect and this video was a hell of an introduction. That first album looms large in black music and this song and video—along with one of the greatest songs that ever existed, “A Long Walk”—is part of the reason why.
Plus, how many other videos have you seen where the earrings actually come off? Iconic.