Many became acquainted with BJ the Chicago Kid from his feature on Schoolboy Q’s hit single “Studio.” Following a series of mixtapes, and his 2012 indie album Pineapple Now-Laters the Chicago native presents his Motown Records debut In My Mind.
BJ captured listeners with the LP’s leading single, which has a subtle feature from Chance The Rapper & Buddy. On “Church” he sings about carnal temptation of the opposite sex, “She said she wanna drink/do drugs and have sex tonight/but I got church in the morning.”
On In My Mind you can hear the musical influences of James Brown on his answer song “Woman’s World,” while the groovy “Turnin’ Me Up” sounds like a page out of D’Angelo’s songbook with a hint of Marvin Gaye, his Motown label-mate.
He wants reciprocation of the love experience, not just physical, but from within on the sexy yet gentle “Love Inside” before it eases into the sultry bedroom track “The Resume,” Persuading the intended “hiring manager” that he’s more than qualified for the job. He sings “here’s my resume I wanna work for you so bad/and you hiring me will make all them others mad/one touch it’s going down/I wanna work that body like it’s a 9 to 5.” The six-minute track is very reminiscent of Jodeci’s (De’Vante Swing) early work. Trailing is “Shine” one of the only ballads on the album along with “Falling On My Face.”
BJ becomes quite the storyteller on “Wait Til the Morning” where he pleads his girlfriend’s best friend to remain quiet about their liaison until he thinks everything through. The track slides into another song that appears to be part two, but it seems we’ll have to wait for the next album to hear it. He follows with tale “Heart Crush” when love just isn’t enough to mend the demising of the relationship and staying will only cause heartache. With “The New Cupid” the Kendrick Lamar assisted track, he examines today’s generation of dating, relationships and love. “Cupid’s too busy in the club/at the bar rolling up.” He also brings awareness to today’s state of R&B and his responsibility since most R&B singers have veered from the genre.
BJ was brilliant with the blending of new age and traditional R&B. Clearly he studied artists before him and followed the R&B recipe of heartache, love lost, and the influence of church. He reminds you of his church upbringing and gives us a bible story of Jeremiah the prophet on “Jeremiah/World Needs More…” Aside from you hearing the love he has for his hometown Chicago, he effortlessly switches back and forth between R&B eras. BJ perfectly illustrated where the church and the streets of Chicago meet, as he allowed the world into his mind.
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