Recommend if you like: Anderson Paak, Erykah Badu, Chance the Rapper

Expectation: BJ the Chicago Kid is an R&B artist from Chicago (surprise!) primarily known for his work with high-profile hip hop artists, including Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, and ScHoolboy Q. In My Mind marks his sophomore album, following 2012’s Pineapple Now-Laters.

TRACK-BY-TRACK

  • Man Down – Starting off a predominantly R&B/soul album with a straight hip hop beat is a bold move, but BJ doesn’t do much else on the track. The beat is cool, but the song as a whole just doesn’t go anywhere.
  • Church – The blend of neo-soul with hip hop sounds great, the hook is catchy, and Chance’s fits well without stealing the show.
  • Love Inside – A pretty nice R&B track.
  • The Resume – The vocoder harmonies that form the instrumental here sound fantastic, and there’s even a healthy amount of variation. BJ’s performance feels auxiliary at times, similar to ‘Man Down’, but the longer song structure makes the eventual peak much higher.
  • Shine – A super cheesy love song, but its sappy in a really sweet way and beautifully performed and produced, so I love it anyways.
  • Wait Til Mornin’ – A nice pop song, with even more lush backing harmonies.
  • Heart Crush – Another nice R&B track; while this is one of the weakest tracks comparatively, its still really good.
  • Jeremiah/World Needs More Love – The gospel influences heard throughout the album are most prominent here, as this is basically a full-blown gospel track, complete with a mini-speech in the middle. Its good, too.
  • The New Cupid – I really don’t know if this song is meant to be funny, but its hilarious, and Kendrick’s verse is a lot of fun.
  • Woman’s World – Something about this track feels like a Christmas song and I can’t place it. Maybe its just the melody? I dunno. Its nice tho.
  • Crazy – A really cool beat, though somewhat forgettable as a song.
  • Home – Another song that seems to lack any real structure, but makes up for it with subtly shifting loops and gorgeous harmonies.
  • Falling On My Face – A gentle ballad with several melodic phrases reminiscent of showtunes that excellently display BJ’s vocal abilities.
  • Turnin’ Me Up – More of a true R&B track, with some especially nice contributions from the guitar and piano, and fun use of handclaps in the groove.

Overall: This album is a huge jump in quality from BJ the Chicago Kid’s previous effort, Pineapple Now-Laters. The influences here are extremely diverse, as BJ seems less interested in funk than his contemporaries, and instead draws heavier influence from gospel, pop ballads, and showtunes to carve out his own niche.  The end result is a bright, vibrant sounding album with phenomenal production and stellar vocal harmonies throughout.

Score: 7/10

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