Rapper to Watch: Boldy James
Listening to Boldy James rap is a visual experience. If his music is given the proper attention it can transport the listener not just into James’ surroundings, but straight into his mentality and thought process as well. His rhyme schemes and vocal inflections are rather straightforward, making it hard for a casual listener to pick up the subtle wordplay and detailed storytelling that he is so adept at. Boldy’s hood-kingpin persona is neither a new nor original perspective in rap music, but since the Clipse’s coke-rap opus Hell Hath No Fury was released in 2006, I haven’t heard a rapper who combines still-in-the-trap street authenticity with a love of words any better than Boldy James. His rhymes are seemingly very personal and totally detached at the same time. He’s telling his own story and reveals several details about his rough upbringing throughout his work, but it feels like he writes for people with shared experiences who treat hustling as a daily operation rather than a short term means to an end.
It seems that Boldy glorifies hustling not just because he can or to sell records, but because it’s something he’s always done and something he’s been very good at. While it might seem that he’s been desensitized to the negative aspects of hustling by the drive for success, the craftsmanship and wise-beyond-his-years insight found in his writing shows a man who revels in daily successes while keeping the big picture in focus and still being able to learn from his mistakes. His reported exploits are usually believable because of the details, whether he’s using intricate mathematical wordplay and street lingo, or revealing specific pitfalls and glories that only personal experience could bring to light.
Boldy has released two full length mixtapes in less than a year’s time, last year’s proper introduction Trappers Alley: Pro’s & Con’s and the excellent Consignment: Favor for a Favor, released in February. While he doesn’t have quite the buzz yet that those two projects and his affiliation with popular rap duo the Cool Kids should warrant, he’s been working a lot more lately, appearing a couple times on the latest posthumous J Dilla release Rebirth of Detroit, as well as a feature on The Alchemist’s upcoming producer album Russian Roulette. Expect to see Boldy James’ name more and more over the next year as he continues to expand his profile. His first official solo album will be released on Decon Records and will be fully produced by the The Alchemist. Before grabbing his free mixtapes and getting fully up to speed, check out his numerous videos on Youtube and his new single “For The Birds” produced by the Cool Kids’ Chuck Inglish.
Written by John Bugbee