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  • Writer's pictureCharles Luberisse

Album Review: Boldy James & The Alchemist - "Bo Jackson"

Written By: Mike Double G


Grade = 93% or 4.5 ️

Track List - 44 minutes

  1. Double Hockey Sticks 3:26 ️

  2. Turpentine 3:23

  3. Brickmile To Montana (Boldy James, The Alchemist, & Benny the Butcher) 2:40 ️

  4. E.P.M.D 3:39

  5. Steel Wool 3:22 ️

  6. Photographic Memories (Boldy James, The Alchemist, & Roc Marciano Feat. Earl Sweatshirt) 3:53

  7. Speed Trap 2:07 ️

  8. Diamond Dallas (Boldy James, The Alchemist, & Stove God Cooks) 3:27

  9. Flight Risk 2:06 ️

  10. Illegal Search & Seizure 2:37

  11. Fake Flowers (Boldy James, The Alchemist, Curren$y, & Freddie Gibbs) 3:47 ️

  12. 3rd Person 3:32

  13. First 48 Freestyle 3:16

  14. Drug Zone 2:56

Boldy James and The Alchemist reconnect on this project. Back in 2013, Boldy and Al first worked together on Boldy’s debut LP called My First Chemistry Test. While the project was met with generally favorable reviews this type of rap music was only for a particular listener. Boldy’s type of rap music would be classified as street rap or more specifically “Coke Rap”. This is the same kind of street rap that has put Griselda on the map. Back in 2013 the south had a strong hold on the rap game and a Canadian rapper named Drake was at the top of the industry trying to push the boundaries by forcing rappers to become more complete artists. Rap became the new pop music and melodies became more important than ever. This kind of rap has never been Boldy’s lane. The Alchemist and Boldy James didn’t put together another project until the end of 2019 when they dropped the four song EP Boldface. This project was a prequel to their next LP titled The Price of Tea in China. By the end of 2019 Griselda released there album WWCD which was under Shady Records. Behind the machine of Eminem and Shady records, Griselda started to take off like never before. There success has put street rap back on the map and opened the door for guys like Boldy who were stubborn to change. The Price of Tea in China was released in February of 2020 and was met with widespread critical acclaim.

The Alchemist has worked with all the members of Griselda so it only made sense to get a feature from one of the members. Benny the Butcher was featured on Scape the Bowl which was on The Price of Tea in China. This was the best song on that project. Boldy and Benny have great chemistry. In an interview with No Jumper Benny said that the only rapper he would compare to himself would be Boldy James. Not only as a rapper but as a person from the streets. On Bo Jackson Boldy and Benny made another banger on the song Brickmile To Montana. This could easily be the best song on the project but there are so many good songs on this new project that it’s too hard to pick just one. In those situations I usually go with a solo record. My favorite solo record would be Steel Wool. This song proves Boldy is a complete artist. Not only can he spit the hard edgy bars we love but he proves he can also comes up with catchy hooks which is sometimes a lost art when it comes to this lane of rap music.

As Griselda looked to sign new artists to the label, Boldy James seemed like the perfect fit. Just months after the release of his second LP Boldy signed to Griselda Records. That summer he dropped a deluxe version of The Price of Tea in China, a project called Manger on McNichols, and The Versace Tape. All three of these projects were released in just one mont The deluxe dropped July 10th, Manger on McNichols dropped July 22nd, and The Versace Tape was released August 22nd. The Versace Tape was a project produced by Jay Versace and was Boldy first released under Griselda records. This project was just as hard as his previous releases but it was only 23 minutes. Boldy was eager to release a project to celebrate him signing to Griselda records but he didn’t want to over do it since he just released a full project only a few weeks before.

There are a lot of fake rappers in the game but you can tell by his lyrics and content that Boldy James is not one of them. His content is very descriptive and he doesn’t make broad statements like many other rappers. Even his song titles are very specific. Songs like Flight Risk, Speed Trap, and Illegal Search & Seizure are tracks where Boldy talks about these scenarios and they are so descriptive that you can tell that he actually went through the things he’s rapping about. Similar to the members in Griselda you can tell that Boldy James actually sold drugs and been around that kind of life. The first song on this album is Double Hockey Sticks. On this track Boldy says:

Last don of a dyin' breed, real niggas rare. Louboutin sneaks, got at least twelve differеnt pairs. Ice wires, diamonds cuttin' up like I'm Mikе Myers. Gotta shoot it up in front of me, to the first time buyers.

In the next song Turpentine Boldy closes out the track by saying:

Times done got It so hard, need a new line on them kilograms. Been fucked up since El Chapo been locked up, they need to free that man.

You can hear these kind of lyrics through out the entire album. If Boldy isn’t a real one then he must spend a lot of time binge watching Drugs INC. We know he watches The First 48 as track 13 is titled First 48 Freestyle.

Another favorite of mine would be Fake Flowers. This is a song with Curren$y and Freddie Gibbs. All three of these guys have been in the game for a long time but only recently they have been “Getting there Flowers”. In 2018 Curren$y and Freddie Gibbs made a project with The Alchemist called Fetti. This project got an 88 rating by HipHopDX and Metacrtic gave it an 86 rating overall based on 4 reviews. In comparison the Grammy Award winning Igor by Tyler, the Creator received a 81 rating from Metacritic while Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy receive a rating of 84. The Alchemist and Freddie Gibbs were also nominated for a Grammy in 2020 for there project Alfredo. With all three rappers having great chemistry with Al this was a smart collaboration. Boldy has worked with both of these guys in the past. He was featured on Curren$y’s song Riviera Beach (remix) and Freddie was featured on Boldy’s song S.N.O.R.T.. Both of these songs were stand outs so for Al to get all three of these guys on the same song was genius. It made for friendly competition which only elevated there pen game. Boldy and Freddie sound somewhat similar as they are both from the Midwest but I think Curren$y had the best verse on the song.

The only song on this project I wasn’t crazy about was 3rd Person. Boldy is known for having a slow but smooth flow. On this song he was rapping slower than usual which made the song drag. The hook was simple and the beat wasn’t my favorite. Boldy still had some good lines but if there is a miss on this project this would be the miss. Although Boldy rapped particularly slow on this song there were some songs on this project where Boldy rapped fast. This is the first time I heard Boldy rap like this and I think that’s what took this project to the next level. You can find him rapping fast on the second half of Double Hockey Sticks, after Benny’s verse on Brickmile To Montana, and particularly on the song Speed Trap which only made sense based on the title of the song.

After The Price of Tea in China I was excited for another project from Boldy James and The Alchemist. Since that project was so good I was expecting this project to be weaker as that’s usually the case. I was pleasantly surprised with this as I think this project is even better. There were only features on 4 of the 14 songs which usually is a little light but Boldy did a good job of mixing it up, He changed his flow patterns and used different speeds. At no point did any of these songs sound the same. The Alchemist was on point as usual. He did a great job opening and closing the album as he shined on Double Hockey Sticks and Drug Zone. The pair also did a good job picking the features. Every feature included someone Boldy has already worked with. Those features included Benny the Butcher, Roc Marciano, Earl Sweatshirt, Stove God Cooks, Curren$y, and Freddie Gibbs. Overall, I think this was an instant classic. I don’t know if we’ll get a deluxe but I wouldn’t recommend it as it could only water down a nearly perfect album. For me, this is a candidate for album of the year and I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes Grammy nominated. My final grade for the project is 93% or 4.5 stars.

Best Song = Steel Wool

Download: Bo Jackson

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