Who is BJ The Chicago Kid? Well, I answered that question during my ambitious trip to Trader Joe’s this morning at 8 a.m. — you know you have to wake up early to get reasonably priced groceries in Brooklyn on a weekend. Listening to Kendrick Lamar’s Section.80 mixtape last year, there was a voice on “Kush & Corinthians” that struck me, it was just so silky. That was BJ, his voice and songwriting is like a cross between Bilal and Frank Ocean. Someone is probably eading this and saying ‘What about the Weeknd?’ Well, I don’t believe in that guy so I can’t call that. I know … I’ll keep trying but I maintain that liking someone’s music shouldn’t feel like going to the gym when you don’t want to. Anyway, here’s a bit about BJ for his iTunes blurb:
An immensely talented singer, BJ the Chicago Kid may not be a household name, but odds are you’ve heard him—or at least his work. He’s collaborated with cats like Dom Kennedy and Kendrick Lamar (who appears on a pair of joints here), and has composed songs for major players like Kanye West and Mary J. Blige, among many others. Following up 2011’s well-received covers mixtape The Life of Love’s Cupid, he returns with Pineapple Now and Laters, strutting his stuff on 18 tracks oozing with soul and sensuality. The production is a far cry from the sleek sheen of most standard-issue modern R&B, instead built on chunky breakbeats, Stax-style guitar work, obscure samples, and earthy piano grooves; it all comes together to support his delicate falsetto and strong, real-life lyricism. It’s compelling from start to finish, but don’t miss “Sex X Money X Shoes,” “I Want You Back/Lady Lady,” and an excellent update of WAR’s classic “The World Is a Ghetto.”
Full disclosure, a buddy sent me BJ’s Pineapple Now-Laters and I had no idea who he was. Then when I listened to the album’s intro, where the singer sings a bit of Susan Vega’s “Tom’s Dinner” and explains why he named the project Now-Laters saying ‘This for colored folk who seen the rainbow of kool-aid packages in the pantry, who passed up the yellow starburst ’cause they was nasty,’ I began to smile on the A train platform. I love being African American and I love when artists pluck out details that are specific to that experience and celebrate it, which is what BJ does in a great way. Here are a few songs from Pineapple Now-Laters below:
My new theme song, next to Fiona Apple’s “Extraordinary Machine.”
A compliment to brown American girls, ain’t nothing wrong with that!
BJ is joined by my Kendrick, a cat named Jairus Mozee and producer Battle Cat, who pretty much scored the soundtrack of my college party years. I co-sign this on the artists’ potential and proven records alone.
Kendrick Lamar’s “Kush & Corinthians” featuring BJ The Chicago Kid, where I first learned of the singer.
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