[Interview] Boldy James: Concrete Reality
Usually I’m the one asking questions, but today Detroit’s Boldy James has a question for me, just days before the release of his sophomore mixtape. “Do you know how I feel right now?” Boldy asks me via phone. It’s a really a rhetorical question, and Boldy’s answer comes just as quickly as the question. “I feel colossal.”
Boldy James’ feelings of colossal-ness come on the heels of Consignment: Favor For a Favor [Redi Rock Mixtape], which is the second mixtape in as many years for James. James’ freshman effort landed on some mixtape of the year lists, and slapped listeners with a dose of reality given straight from the poverty-laden Detroit streets. Backed by production from his cousin, Chuck Inglish of The Cool Kids as well as Brains, he gave Hip Hop fans a birds-eye view into the alleys of Motown and a crash course in the life and times of Boldy James, a family man caught up in some bad shit, just trying to write his way out the hood. Missing from James’ catalog were bloated singles about the excessive of street life, more so, the songs exist as tales resembling “Scared Straight” episodes with a message of ‘do you see how fucked up this is?’ In Boldy’s mind it was that honesty that ultimately won him the ears and bandwidth of music fans everywhere. “It’s the gravitational pull of reality,” he reasons. “it’s the sincerity in the music.”
He is sincere indeed, and has a mission to show a younger generation how life is not supposed to be. “I’m trying to save the children,” Boldy says about his objective. “My side of the deal is for me to try to scare the kids straight with the shit I’ve really been through in life. I can really teach them from experience how not to do that. ‘I wouldn’t do that if I was you… That’s how that goes.’ I don’t glorify the bullshit. I’m a leader by example.”
That’s part of why Boldy is feeling good right now, ready for his music to be released and for music fans to be exposed to more members of his immediate circle. It turns out, that it’s the features on Consignment that have him feeling so damn big. While you may imagine the features include big names, it’s the ones you and I have never heard of that are most important to Boldy James. “I get to introduce my people to the world,” he tells me, “In my own little small confining of my reality in this ghetto shit that I go through everyday, you don’t know how that feels to me. That means the world.”
Read on for the full interview with Boldy James as he talks about his new mixtape, being in the lab with Alchemist, his relationship with Chuck Inglish, and writing his way out of the ghetto.