Delivering scriptures of grit from Detroit's 48227 is Boldy James; but make no mistake—rhythmic wordplay is not all he delivers. For example: Boldy's latest mixtape, "Consignment," (a 28 track [no filler!] masterpiece) actively cements his status as a high priest of that white powder, Donald Trump of the trap, Deepak Chopra of the block. You dig? Though precisely *what* is being "consigned" or "delivered" need not be mentioned here, directly. Because it should not be. Sharper detail would only cause confusion...
So here's how it went down: I met Boldy at an undisclosed location, on questionable terms, for what I'll call a Casual Business Transaction. The intrigue was limitless. This man, in person, comes across as something of a Saint. And if you absolutely must know, our swap went swell; let's leave it at that. Cool?
Continuing. Although Boldy could with good reason claim the streets as his temple: monastery music he does not make. Consequently, dumb-guy critics might be quick to attack our hero's topics, which consist of, but are not limited to, some usual suspects: 187's, crumbling neighborhoods, the drug game, its discontents, wrongful convictions, rightful ones—rawnesses of the Motor City labyrinth.
But see, what would-be naysayers fail to realize is this: Boldy James just reflects the world around him, evoking a reality—his. He glamorizes nothing. Thus to listen with a keen ear to Mr. James is to empathize with a man exposing not only his triumphs, but also his losses and his struggles and his vulnerabilities. And he achieves this with Mafioso stylishness, issuing cold threats in a spirit of warm serenity. Almost too serene, making the skeptical listener question his claim to have "shot a nigga as a kid for a $100 bucks." Is it, or could it ever really be, true?
(It is. . .)
No need to fret though. Just stay on Boldy's good side, as he reassures us without bragging or boasting or even raising his voice that he is, in fact, humble, saying, "Just so happens I can rap, and it's taking its toll..."
And here's the best news—to date, there is no toll. Boldy's 54 song catalogue is available for the impossibly low price of nothing, nada, zero, zilch, goose-egg, the same fee your mom quotes when potential suitors, eyes full of lust, ask her, "how much!?" Plush.
BOLDY JAMES INTERVIEW STARTS NOW:
SYFFAL: Mr. James. So we meet again, in your hometown, Detroit. Tell us: How did growing up in the D influence your personal growth as a musician?
Boldy James (BJ): Motown got history to it, we always been a historical musical type of city. We lost our edge for a minute due to that battle-rap bullshit, freestyles, open-mics. But we coming back.
SYFFAL: Coming back—that's the triumph of optimism right there. Your lyrics cover broad topics, but, how do people respond to them? You know, your lyrics about drugs or violent acts or whatnot?
BJ: People that know me, they know I'm being modest. I'm streeter than most of these dudes out here, that's why they call me Boldy Blocks. It's all I know, my dude.
SYFFAL: Fair enough. So, Mr. Blocks, I'll be more direct with this one: are you, at the present, still a fixture in the drug economy?
BJ: [laughs] That's neither here nor there...
SYFFAL: I'll take that as an 'absolutely not.' Moving on: you're directing & shooting videos now? Polymathic indeed. How do you do it, my good man?
BJ: People respect and value my opinion—two heads better than one on the creative side. Like I say, I always been one of the wise cats of the neighborhood, most dudes always kinda followed my lead.
SYFFAL: Yours is a lead that should be followed. Rumors are that you shot a nigga for $100 bucks as a child—capital-T Troof?
BJ: Yes sir. I ain't feel too much though cause the nigga tried to rob me in the park. I had stole a police edition .38 from my old dude, when I ran away from home back in the day, so when dude robbed me, I let him walk 10 paces in front of me—and I popped him. When I shot him he dropped all my shit and took off running, then I went back and picked my shit up. I tried to get off but ended up being arrested and went to jail later....A lot of people lie in they rhymes.
SYFFAL: Oh, Wow.
BJ: ...That ain't the only nigga I done shot...
SYFFAL: Respect. Any artists you see yourself collaborating with in the near future?
BJ: Nas, Jay, Wayne, Ross, Ye. The top dogs. I want to prove it's not all about status, and that some dudes talent can overshadow that. Just like basketball. It's dudes better than Jordan in jail, but what good is that if you don't use your talents for what God gave them to you for. I play ball as good as I can spit a 16. I could've been shootin a couple jumpers, but I didn't take school too seriously. Now, every time I watch a basketball game, it makes me sick to my stomach, they making $80k per night. I'm supposed to be in there already, not still in the hood, not having to do the illegal shit.
SYFFAL: $80k per night. Hard work. One of my favorite lyrics of yours is a question, a challenge to the listener: "Is you workin' hard, or is you hardly workin'?" So, tell me, what's a typical day like in the life of Boldy?
BJ: Ahhhh, man. Typical work day in the life of Boldy James: wake up, move a brick, pop the shit out my wife (you never know how yo day go'n promise, cause my day start off right when I get some in in the morning), so I take care of that, take my morning piss, roll me up a fat ass blunt, say my prayers, thank God, if my kids out of school for the weekend, I kiss on them, then I get to makin' them phone calls, checkin' out where the money at, do my tally up, roll up another blunt, then I get dressed, then I'm in the street the rest of the day, rollin more blunts and bigger ones. I be thuggin' bro. I don't do a lot of extra shit. I just do extravagant shit when it's time to. Might bring the watch, chain, glasses out. Who knows. Might come in Plain Jane. Life been a roller coaster.
SYFFAL: That's ill shit. What's next for you?
BJ: Working with my man Sterling Toles, ground beneath my feat on Trapper's Alley. We been cookin' up a project for over a year. Probably some more free mixtapes.
SYFFAL: Speaking of free mixtapes, how can you afford to make so much of your music, well, FREE?
BJ: It's appreciation man, a reward for the listeners listening to this Concreatures shit. I just love making the music. If I could give yall 100 songs, I would. Everybody can't cook up 10 songs and they all be solid. 1 out of 10, maybe 2 out a 10 if they lucky. Rare. I'm consistent. I just do me. I got more songs than Tupac bro, been rapping way longer than people think I have. It's like my therapy, like when you go to see a shrink and kick your feet up on a chair, that's the booth for me. The music is therapeutic, freeing my evil demons, I can feel my soul escaping, like my homie Bo Skeet said. It comes from the heart, shit I really be going through. Easier said that done, but I'd rather go in the booth and get it off my chest rather than acting on any emotions or feelings I got.
SYFFAL: Boldy, that's real shit. Thanks for the interview, my bold and cold brother.
BJ: Anytime, Scrill, get at me whenever you need.