BJ The Chicago Kid has been grinding for years within the music industry as a songwriter working along side artists such as Dave Hollister and doing vocal work with fellow Chi-town artist Kanye West and most recently with the TDE squad consisting of Schoolboy Q and the man of the hour Mr. Kendrick Lamar. Before releasing his debut album BJ put out the now damn near classic Pineapples Now-Laters mixtape that spawned the single Good Luv’n (jam), to say the least BJ born Bryan Sledge has paid his dues and earned his time in the spotlight.
I’ve championed this man since I discovered him on my own terms almost two years ago and he’s held up to my praise ever since, so it should be no surprise when his album dropped I went into a state of fandom that’s primarily been reserved for much more established artists on their third and fourth albums. The thing I love about BJ is that he’s a singular throwback to all the artists that we’ve loved before him, I feel the quiet sexuality that exudes from his vocals much like I felt when D’Angelo dropped his debut album Brown Sugar in 1995. I feel his sincerity and lust much like when I first discovered Marvin Gaye. To the say the least BJ has ushered in a new era of song that is just as passionate as anything I loved in the 90s, and he’s studied well.
The album opens with a standard intro and quickly goes into the opening track Man Down which has PJ Morton (keyboardist, singer), Buddy, and Constantine lending their talents on the track, it feels like this could’ve been the intro vs. the “real” intro. Next up one of my favs of the summer that I feel was slept on, Church, featuring Chance The Rapper. The concept alone on this record was so left and different from anything released around that time that I feel like it should have been a banger on the radio and in the clubs. “Amazing grace/it’s so hard to say no when its looking good in my face” the way he playfully embraces words and delivers them takes me back to a time when R&B singers SANG to a woman and made each one feel special whether it was recorded or live. Some of my favorite standout tracks are Love Inside, Woman’s World, Turnin Me Up, The New Cupid.
I will say that I did expect BJ to come a bit harder (no pun intended unless you’re nasty like that lol) with this album as a whole because the leaks, teasers and singles he put out are bang upon bang status in terms of sound, singing and musicianship. Overall this is a solid album with songs that in my opinion will hold up down the road if he delivers an even greater body of work his second and third time around. You can stream In My Mind on Spotify/Tidal and purchase on iTunes. Support REAL talent!