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Boldy James & The Alchemist – Bo Jackson (Review)

Kobe is to Shaq as Boldy James is to The Alchemist (Too soon? Meh, we’ll see)!


 

STREAM


SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN

1. Double Hockey Sticks (4.5/5)

2. Turpentine (4.5/5)

3. Brickmile to Montana feat. Benny the Butcher (5/5)

4. E.P.M.D (4.3/5)

5. Steel Wool (4.5/5)

6. Photographic Memories feat. Earl Sweatshirt & Roc Marciano (4.2/5)

7. Speed Trap (4/5)

8. Diamond Dallas feat. Stove God Cooks (4/5)

9. Flight Risk (4/5)

10. Illegal Search & Seizure (4.2/5)

11. Fake Flowers feat. Freddie Gibbs & Curren$y (5/5)

12. 3rd Person (4/5)

13. First 48 Freestyle (5/5)

14. Drug Zone (5/5)

Favorite Tracks: Double Hockey Sticks, Brickmile to M0ntana, Fake Flowers, First 48 & Drug Zone


RGM RATING

(A-)

 

This dynamic duo teams up for their second partnership in about a year.  Bo Jackson is the duo’s collaborative follow-up to 2020’s The Prince of Tea in China. This 13-track project features Benny The Butcher, Earl Sweatshirt, Roc Marciano, Curren$y, Freddie Gibbs, and Stove God Cooks. The Prince of Tea in China was a phenomenal release and was named a Top 20 project in my In Suave We Trust 2020 year-end list. That being said, I had some high expectations going into this project!

From start to finish, Boldy & Alchemist create something that is nothing short of spectacular. Boldy’s ability of storytelling and rapping about his demons and personal battles over the finest Alchemist beats creates quite the listening experience. I love that these two just KNOW what works for them.

On “Double Hockey Sticks,” this tag-team picks up right where they left off on The Price of Tea in China. This first track starts off with a dark haunting boom-bap beat that gets a smooth yet hazy type beat switch where Boldy talks his talk about beating a case. This intro track was perfect and I don’t think Boldy and Alc could have started the album off any better.

The next song, “Turpentine,” speaks on hard times then transitions into “Brickmile to Montana” with Benny the Butcher. I can’t lie, “Brickmile to Montana” feels like the perfect sequel to “Scrape the Bowl,”  Benny and Boldy are such a LETHAL combination. With the mean vibe setting pianos on “E.P.M.D.,” Boldy’s declaration about him being cut from a different cloth on “Steel Wool,” you get a sense of what the goal of this project was.

As we make our way to the halfway point, we stumble upon a few more memorable highlights on this album. There is the enticing collaboration on “Photographic Memories” featuring Earl Sweatshirt & Roc Marciano, the demented tale told in “Speed Trap,” and Alchemist flexing on the piano-laced “Diamond Dallas.” This is followed by another slate of solid efforts on “Flight Risk” and the somewhat soulful “Illegal Seizure & Search.”

This final lap of the album was my favorite. We got a fire collab in “Fake Flowers” with Curren$y & Freddie Gibbs, which is a direct call-out to the phony folks who love faking the funk.  Then the perfect 3 track close in “3rd Person,” “First 48,” and “Drug Zone,” where the album ends as Boldy closes comparing himself to such.

Bo Jackson is a SOLID follow-up to The Price of Tea in China. It’s relatively early but I think Bo Jackson may be just as good as The Price of Tea in China. It’s a rather crazy thought that Boldy James really has 3 damn near perfect projects in his discography in these two albums with The Alchemist and The Versace Tape with Jay Versace. Boldy talks about his life and experiences in such a compelling way. This tandem did something special here and this project is a huge boost for Boldy moving forward.

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