James has a love affair with the block. He sounds like Prodigy, flows
like Curren$y and creates the kind of grimey tracks that most 90s
rappers should be making. The
29 year old bares his wounds and retells days of struggle in a
similar style to last year’s gangsta poster boy Freddie Gibbs.
proud of his hood conquests and the small triumphs that come from
making illegal dollars. But he’s also unflinchingly honest in his
Detroit native isn’t playing Scarface and importing Cocaine
straight from a Mexican cartel. He’s trying to get off the ground
while fighting with family and thinking about the consequences of
life in prison.
year’s mixtape Trappers Alley: Pros and Cons snuck under almost
everyone’s radar. It had enough of an East Coast sound to get the
old heads jumping in their rest homes, if only they had listened. Chuck
Inglish (James’ younger cousin) supplied the majority of production
with help from relative unknown Brains. The album features raw
soulful beats which allow room for Boldy’s slurred flow. At 30
tracks deep it’s too long for a single listen, but he carries the
project surprisingly well for his first full-length.
Young Jeezy and Rick Ross are busy being millionaires, James keeps
his raps authentic with regional name drops and enough cryptic dope
slang to make Raekwon smile.
as well give it all to me, I can move it all, magical with the wand,
don’t panic when it dissolve, that’s just it’s purest form, no
additives but the arm and hammer.”
Boldy states “I sold dope my whole life” on track six, it seems
entirely believable. His knowledge of local spots, characters, and
jargon portrays an intimate knowledge of his craft. Despite a few
missteps such as the boring sex talk on Killin’ In The 5TH,
there’s a refreshing lack of unnecessary bravado and
concrete king doesn’t spend too much time talking about imaginary
guns or girls. Each of his detailed stories is mixed with a grim
touch of self-reflection. Many lyrics seem autobiographical and he
doesn’t shy away from rapper sore-points such as feeling scared or
‘Optional’ James openly states that selling weight wasn’t his
choice of career.
deal drugs, because the money come much quicker. But I never wanted
to be a drug dealer. Giving sacks and satchels to the young critters,
setting a bad example for my little sister.”
small hints at vulnerability make Boldy more interesting than most
trap rappers. Admitting that he’s not invincible brings him closer
to the listener. We
can empathize with personal worries about safety and relationships,
more than we understand putting rims on a Maybach.
later personifies his street corner as the feminine Connie (from
concrete) and dubs himself a concreature. They are separate entities,
but have formed a tangled relationship.
old lady steady bullshittin’ telling me to stop, but I’ll leave
her fucking ass before I leave this fucking block. She loves me, and
you ain’t gotta love me. Cause if you don‘t, the block will hug
duo have an unhealthy alliance, which is doomed from the beginning. Boldy
relies on his neighborhood alleyways for income, but he also knows
they’ll be his downfall. By focusing on the personal strain of
selling drugs, the concreature enters under-explored rap territory.
James might be a feared dealer, but he’s also the first to admit
he’ll be sleeping in jail cell sooner than a mansion.