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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released December 11, 2020 | Real Bad Man Records

Few rappers had a better 2020 than Boldy James. After breaking out with his 2013 Alchemist-produced debut, My 1st Chemistry Set, the Detroit veteran spent the rest of the 2010s putting out subpar mixtapes on Mass Appeal Records and fading from relevancy. He made a sudden and big return at the top of 2020 with his highly-regarded sophomore record The Price of Tea In China, a neo-noir masterpiece also produced by The Alchemist. Over the summer, he dropped an even more elaborate jazz fusion opus with Detroit producer Sterling Toles, and then announced his signing to Griselda Records with a more stripped-back mixtape helmed by Jay Versace. His fourth and final album of 2020, Real Bad Boldy, is a collaboration with the L.A. producer Real Bad Man that serves as a concise victory lap for a year that completely rehabilitated his career. Whereas all of the previous albums had a cinematic quality to them—shape-shifting beats, film samples strung between his verses, and memoir-like storytelling—Real Bad Boldy harnesses the raw power of his delivery over the type of warm soul loops you'd hear on a Roc Maricano album. The positively stunning ethereal sounds in the back of "Street Shit" contrast gorgeously with Boldy's croaky voice, while songs like "Good Foot" and "Champion" have a triumphant stride that's quite different from the formless compositions of The Price of Tea In China. On all of his records, Boldy raps about the traumas and triumphs of cooking and selling drugs, both with a sense of sober remove and a dead-eyed realism that underscores how he'll carry those brutal tales with him for the rest of his life. The tape is stuffed with play-by-plays of shoot-outs and detailed notes about the everyday hustle of dealing drugs. "They ask me how I write my raps, I say my scale wrote it," he raps during "Failed Attempt." However, these stories never come across as proud recollections of the glory days because he'll also drop lines about fighting two counts of first-degree murder at the age of 13. "I'm high strung, come from where the good die young/ Graveyard under my belt, put that shit on my son," he utters with his matter-of-fact baritone during "On Ten". The overall mood is deservedly upbeat here, but Boldy doesn't forego the macabre atmosphere that makes him compelling enough to shell out four full-length projects in a single year. © Eli Enis/Qobuz
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released February 7, 2020 | ALC - Boldy James

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released July 10, 2020 | ALC - Boldy James

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released August 14, 2020 | Griselda

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released December 20, 2019 | ALC

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released October 15, 2013 | Mass Appeal

On his official debut album, Boldy James teams with producer the Alchemist for a match made in gangsta heaven, seeing as how the Detroit rapper often seems like the duo of Mobb Deep rolled into one cold homie. "Leave his body where the Pistons play" is quintessential Boldy, and while old-school ballers will certainly be attracted to his new Mobb style with an Alchemist co-sign, there's something much more sinister and down about these tracks, seeing as how the Mobb lived in the shadow of the glamorous New York City that Alicia Keyes shouted out, while Boldy comes from the literally bankrupt town of Detroit. This ain't no disco, and it ain't no CBGB either, as the grimmest "Surprise Party" on wax finds a "pretty bitch" getting "shot dead in his face, in front of his baby mama," while Boldy, King Chip, and Freeway walk away without regrets. "You Know" gives up "And it's a known fact that I sold crack" while guest star Action Bronson spits some true talk during "Traction" with "This is grown man rap, you in the kiddie pool/You still pissin' in that little urinal." Still, Boldy is also a creative soul, getting trippy with some of the Wolf Gang crew on the odd left turn dubbed "Reform School" and throwing childish nicknames at the grim things that surround him during the great "Moochie." Check the strange creeper called "Give Me a Reason" for a startling combination of prog rock, stoned talk, and "don't judge" lyrics like "Got a crick in my neck so there's no looking back." Vivid details throughout the album seem like ammunition for any possible prosecution team, so be aware, this one is brutal, nihilistic, frightening, and unforgiveable, but it's "eye for an eye" music with a creative spark, and a great step toward the realm of The Infamous. © David Jeffries /TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released November 19, 2020 | Real Bad Man Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released December 1, 2020 | Real Bad Man Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released December 8, 2018 | Connected Everywhere - Concreatures 227

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released February 27, 2015 | Mass Appeal

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released December 13, 2019 | ALC

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released November 20, 2014 | Mass Appeal

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released December 8, 2020 | Real Bad Man Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 27, 2017 | Mass Appeal

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released January 30, 2020 | ALC - Boldy James

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released July 8, 2020 | ALC - Boldy James

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released December 16, 2014 | Federation Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released July 3, 2014 | Mass Appeal

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released February 24, 2017 | Mass Appeal