I Can't Call It: In My Mind - BJ The Chicago Kid

Posted On Tuesday, March 8, 2016

I don't wanna be dramatic and start a whole "R&B is dead" hashtag but I can tell you this...R&B and soul music damn sure ain't what it used to be. And with a rack of these new school R&B folk barely able to hold a note & the rest of them using auto tune and studio wizardry to help them sound just remotely aiight, it seems like there's no sign of any "real" soul music coming down the pike anytime soon. But here's the thing, if you really believe that, then that's when ya lost like the mighty Souls of Mischief rhymed about 23 years ago cause we've got Chitown's favorite son BJ the Chicago Kid's debut album "In My Mind" on tap. And just in case some of ya'll are wondering why that's so important, well simply put if BJ can't save the current state of R&B...then nobody can.

"In My Mind" sets off with "Man Down" which sounds like something straight outta a blaxploitation flick & has BJ letting ya'll know from the door he's coming for that #1 spot while the album's first single "Church" featuring Chitown's finest Chance the Rapper is BONKERS & has BJ trying to stay right with the Lord while a bad chick is staring him in the face, "she said she wants to drink, do drugs and have sex tonight, but I got church in the morning." "Love Inside Me" is a classic slow jam banger and "Resume" sounds like some classic 90's Jodeci with BJ telling a shorty "I need a job, baby can you hire me/can I work that body like it's a 9 to 5." "Shine" is an incredible shout out to his woman for holding him down, "we argue and fight, but girl you stay by my side/and even when we loving you still give it to me like it's nothing/even when you knew that I was a lie, for me you put up a fight/and baby I don't know how we do it but we always stand the rain" while "Heart Crush" will take you back to that scene in "Love Jones" when Nina is telling Marvin that sometimes all these years just isn't enough, "so sick of trying, so tired of lying/past the point of dying, no compromising/and that fire we had girl just couldn't survive the rain, heard the weather man telling us that it was gonna shower pain/sometimes we want to work so bad we stay too long, then too longs turns to too much/cause too much is how two hearts crush."

"Jeremiah" is gonna take you to church quick, fast and in a hurry so much you'll be standing to your feet to get your tithe & offering ready and has BJ singing about a girl he wants but can't have and before you get it twisted BJ schools you that he's not talking about Jeremiah the singer but Jeremiah the prophet from the bible. I told ya'll he's taking ya'll straight to church. "The New Cupid" featuring Kendrick Lamar jacks Raphael Saadiq for his 60's inspired song "Oh Girl" and has BJ dropping jewels on how "cupid's too busy in the club, at the bar, rolling up" and that's why real love has fallen off only to be replaced by one night stands and "A Woman's World" flips James Brown's "This Is A Man's World" and has BJ saluting women for holding us men down, "money just don't compare, far more valuable than a house made of gold/rareness and a beauty just a few qualities, stand on your own two feet always proud to be/strength when I'm weak baby, truth is God knew what he was doing." "Crazy" takes the party back uptown and has BJ telling you that you gotta be crazy about something you just gotta make sure it's the right thing to be crazy about and "Home" is BJ showing love to his hometown of Chicago. "Falling On My Face" has BJ owning up to the fact that he's not perfect and that he's made his share of mistakes and the album ends with the funky uptempo banger "Turnin' Me Up." But my fave song on "In My Mind" is "Wait Til The Morning" which has BJ begging his girl's best friend who caught him creepin' to not tell his girl right now but to wait til the morning, "I know you're loyal, to your girl though/but I love her, no more undercover/she's my baby and you're her best friend/I know my name ain't worth more than dirt right now but please listen/please don't tell her tonight, please don't tell her tonight/wait til the morning."

I think the craziest things about "In My Mind" is that I've heard rumblings of folk saying they're not feeling it. Word?!?!?! Now, unless you were expecting some trap soul or you wanted some Future or Migos features then I have absolutely no idea how you can't like this jawn. But since we live in a time of analytics, let's see if the numbers add up with what BJ has on tap for us. We've got a dude who can actually sing with no help from any auto tune. We've got some ill concepts, incredible lyrics and harmonies and last but definitely not least, we've also got some incredible production on tap by a bulk of producers I've never even heard of. So, with those kind of stats, what exactly isn't there to like? To be honest, I've got no idea. But if you agreed with my opening statement about R&B being dead, then I'll tell you this, BJ's "In My Mind" won't only dead that whole theory, plus stay in your rotation (and I double dog dare you to try to take it out) but it'll also show you that as long as singers like BJ the Chicago Kid are carrying the torch of modern day soul music, then the music is in very, very good hands.

4.5 outta 5 mics

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