Interview: Boldy James

In May 2014, Queensbridge Legend/ Artist Nas helped launch the label Mass Appeal Records which Boldy James is apart of along with artists Bishop Nehru, Fashawn, and Dave East. During my trip to Detroit recently, I had the opportunity to sit down in the studio with the Mass Appeal Records Recording Artist to talk about his upcoming release ,”The Art of Rock Climbing”. Shout out to DJ Butter for putting this interview together for me. Before we talk about the new album let’s go back a little bit. So you were born in Atlanta? 

Boldy: ATL Shawty….

No doubt. And you moved to Detroit how long after…

Boldy: Not long, like less than a year . Been here like the rest of my life. My peoples, my family, like grandparents they was all born here. It was because my dad lost his job here. He had a job in the “A” when my mom got pregnant so they went down there so he can work. He ended up getting shot so he came back home and been home ever since.

So you hit the scene approximately in 2009,is that correct?

Boldy: You talking about “Industry Standard” type hit the scene or underground just burnin’ the scene up?

Underground burnin’ the scene up? 

Boldy: Yea, like ’09…

So what’s your link to the Cool Kids? 

Boldy: One of them is my little cousin, my little blood cousin. And one them is like the little god brother I never had.

What projects did you work with them on? 

Boldy: My first project with the Cool Kids was uhm, a mixtape project they had. It was like a EP/LP mixtape type of thing ya know? Uhm, it was called,”Merry Christmas” and I was on a song called,”BBQ Wings” and it was produced by Don Cannon.

From Atlanta?

Boldy: Yep, shoutout to the Cannon. Cool Kids, where ya at “E”?

So your official mixtape release 2011 “Trappers Alley pros and cons”? 

Boldy: Yep

How was that received?

Boldy: Had a couple cool songs on there like ” I sold dope my whole life” and another song called “Concrete Connie”. And of course the smash hood single,”Jimbo” produced by Chuck English. Uh, “Trappers Alley” was just fun, I had fun making it. I was going through so many ups and downs at the time that I just needed an outlet to be able to vent. And the booth, the mic, those beats was my therapy at the time.

2012, you came out with the “Consignment”. How was it working on that and did it take you to the next level? 

Boldy: It was kind of a stand still but I didn’t drop the bar any, it’s still like the bar stayed where I set it at you know what I mean? So I didn’t get too much ridicule from the critics of like droppin’ the ball or lettin’ em’ down or nothing it’s just me showin’ my versatility in my opinion.

So by the time we get to 2013 ,”Grand Quarters” EP. What changed between those two mixtapes to that?

Boldy: Me knowing that the attention I had on me at the time that the music was actually being heard. That was the difference, it’s like you plan to get to a certain point in music and up the charts for like fame and all that type of shit and then once you get to that point I never made a plan after that so that’s where I’m at right now is coming up with a game plan for now that my music is bein’ took serious and people is lending me they ear you know what I’m sayin I’m trying to make the right music to make sure ya know that they always around annually when I drop ya know ? I just don’t want to let my fans down. It’s like the dope game, trying to keep some strong product so not only is you beating the competition but it’s a no brainer ’cause you got the strongest work on the block and you showin’ the most love so everyone come to spend with you….

So we get to your debut album,”My First Chemistry Set”. So you get one of the greatest producers (Alchemist) to believe in you and produce all of your tracks. What did you do or how did that come about for him to say,”you know what I wanna produce your whole album”?

Boldy: It started as a mixtape, Chuck (English) had linked me with Alchemist and I met Al(chemist) at SXSW for the first time then he told me I should come to Cali and record with him. He wanted to work, get some work done. It started as a couple of songs and then a couple of songs turn into 4,5 songs then 4,5 songs turned into well you know it could possibly be a situation on the floor for a project like this. So it went from me just makin’ a mixtape with one of my homeboys who just so happen to be the Alchemist you know what I mean? And if you listen to my songs you could tell I grew up listenin’ to his music indirectly like I always been a Prodigy fan,Mobb Deep, you know what I’m sayin? A lot of they music Al(chemist) was makin’ that I didn’t know he was producing I was already rockin’ with. So the sound was so familiar that like I said was a no brainer. I didn’t know dog was that cool, I didn’t know the process in which he was getting his work done, makin’ his beats none of that. I just knew I was fortunate enough to be able to work with him. A producer with that type of status and I was just trying not to drop the ball with all the anticipation and the expected failure of me droppin’ the ball before I even put the project out. People probably thought like the shit I be  into I was going to get myself hurt and wasn’t going to be able to enjoy this experience.

Did you envision your first album being produced by one producer? 

Boldy: Nah…. this the thing, I always seen great things happen in one day, just didn’t know the things the were the most far fetched in the back of my mind are the things that are reality for me now. You know what I mean? Like coming up I was the biggest Nas fan. I stole $10 outta my daddy change box. 40 quarters, to go to Chauncys to buy Nas,”Illmatic” tape. And I had to borrow the tax for the tape, cause all I stole was the exact money to buy it. (Laughter between the both of us) Then somebody stole the tape off me and I ended up getting ahold of it a couple years later after I already knew it in and out but I had already bought the cd from somebody for $10. I was already hustlin’ shit by then, guy was walkin up the street with cd in his hand in the package. I’m like damn that’s that Nas,”Illmatic” cd,huh? I only gave him 10 bucks for the cd, went to the crib popped it back in and it felt like the same day ya know the first time I ever bought it. And to actually like be brought up in conversations with the legend to being able to do music with the guy it’s just a blessing, can’t even describe ya know the feeling I have, ya know to be blessed with that opportunity. He could never understand how much that meant to me. Like a lot of motherfuckas be tryin’ to ride niggas coat tails for their fame and wave. He’ll (Nas) tell anybody, I’m the most nonchalant, most humble, not standoffish, most reserved rapper that he knows. He from the big city so he knows what it like to be prideful to the point where you can be hungry and won’t even accept a plate because of you worrying about how much that plate is gonna cost you in the long run or how much chitter chatter you gonna have to hear about accepting a favor or help from someone else. 

Who inspired you, what emcee’s inspired you growing up?

Boldy:  Eric B. & Rakim, E.P.M.D., Heavy D.& the Boyz, N.W.A., Fat Boys, Beastie Boys, Ghetto Boys, uhm the list goes on… E-40 and the Click, Kaos and Maestro, Detroits Most Wanted, D.F.C., M.C. Eiht, Spice-1. (Smiles)

I seen recently that you may have some surprise coming out on Christmas?

Boldy: Yea, that’s what we working on right now. That’s what those gifted guys are in the room for, they tryin’ to help me pull off this buzzer beater in the 4th Quarter. I hope I can hit a game winner.

Before we get to “The Art of Rock Climbing” we got that (surprise project) coming out on Christmas. Can you tell me more about “The Art of Rock Climbing”? When’s that due out?

Boldy: We trying to come up with a date now. Shoutout to DJ Butter, he workin’ hard trying to help this project get the best push, the best reviews and results it deserves. You know, get the most bang for our bucks.

Production wise who can we expect on this project? 

Boldy: Of course DJ Butter, J. Dilla (smiles)……

(I’m smiling too!) You got a J.Dilla beat!? 

Boldy: yea, shout out to mama Yancey. Love you ma… People be wantin’ me to uh go a little harder on the energy as far as when I’m in the booth makin’ music but they don’t understand I’m goin’ on purpose. I’m laid back and chill, I’m cool like that so that’s how much music is gonna reflect ya know? I ain’t no animated crunk type of rapper I’m just chill….

What kind of subject matter can we expect on “The Art of Rock Climbing”?

Boldy: No drug dealin’, No murder, No violence, uh a lot of positive go to school say no to drugs, uhm listen to your parents. That type of shit…..That’s what I make, that’s my speciality.

Plans on touring soon? 

Boldy: Yea I’ve been kickin’ it with Royce (5’9″) & (Kid) Vishis. Shoutout to the bro’s. You know I went on my second tour after the Mobb Deep Tour….

I know I was suppose to catch you on the Prhyme Tour. 

Boldy: Yea, shoutout to Royce & Preemo. I had fun, I had so much fun on that tour. Shoutout to my dude Drew, Old school Black what’s up what’s up Unc baby. Man the whole guys from the Pryhme Tour, the whole staff. Them my guys, them the bro’s. The niggas that kept it 100 on that tour.

Well, I do thank you for your time today 

Boldy: No problem, any time.

Can you tell everybody well they can find you at? Your Instagram, Twitter,Facebook….

Boldy: That’s BOLDY JAMES everything. Facebook, Twitter. I don’t have a Snap (Chat). I probably need one….

I ain’t got one (laughs)

Thanks everyone for checking out the interview, we about to get back to the studio. Boldy James, Mass Appeal Records…. check for the new album Febuary 2017

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