This story first appeared in our 2016 Sports, Culture and Women in Hip Hop Issue, on newsstands now featuring our Yo Gotti and Hip Hop & Hollywood covers.
BJ The Chicago Kid’s debut album has been a long time coming. After a slew of mixtapes, fans finally get their full fix on In My Mind. Serving unmanufactured genuineness and raw talent, In My Mind is rooted in R&B substance; a true neo-soul lover’s wet dream.
Luring listeners into a musical playground of ecstasy, the project shines with glints of excellence. Proving he has musicianship down to a science, BJ’s thick, velvety voice reeks of showmanship and elegance.
After a spoken intro, BJ invites you into his creative whirlwind with measured delivery and crisp production, crooning for sport. The Windy City native is a voice mastermind, with the ability to meddle with his tone, stroking listener’s emotions.
Seducing with sultry slow jam standout, “Love Inside” and “The Resume,” where he leaks sex innuendo singing of a new job and his lover’s body is the workplace; and “Shine,” a graceful track easily catered for wedding receptions, makes the album a stunner.
From “Heart Crush,” an endearing track dedicated to emotional grief, to “Jeremiah & World Needs More Love,” where the songwriter effortlessly channels D’Angelo with an eerily similar tone, to “The New Cupid,” an explicit-laced track questioning Cupid’s whereabouts featuring Kendrick Lamar, BJ’s passion is hard to ignore. Providing a dynamic landscape of talent, he effectively offers starry-eye passion, slicing through commercial clutter.
With each track, the album surges with vulnerability. This is notable on “Woman’s World,” the opposite of James Brown’s 1968 hit “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” where he instead celebrates the power of the woman, to “Home,” a honest ode to the 312. The only time you might hit the skip button is “Crazy,” which gets an E for Effort. Living up to its title, the track is scattered at best and misplaced given its polished neighbors.
The features are spot on. Fellow Chicago artist Chance the Rapper blesses lead single “Church,” Buddy and Constantine assist on one of the few non-wooing tracks “Man Down,” and Isa radiates on “Wait Till the Morning.”
In My Mind is a musical delicacy, sweet for any neo soul lover’s palate. Reviving neo-soul with fluent Hip Hop understanding back to salvation, BJ’s Motown debut is undoubtedly the remedy to what the genre’s been missing.