HNHH chats with Mass Appeal's new artist, Boldy James.
It’s been a great year so far for Detroit’s Boldy James, not to be confused with saxophonist and jazz musician Boney James. The Midwest rapper, born James Clay Jones III was one of the first three artists signed to Nas’ new imprint, Mass Appeal Records. He performed in front of a sold out crowd alongside the legend during this year’s SXSW festival.
In 2013, he dropped his debut album, My 1st Chemistry Setwith production by The Alchemist and guest appearances from Action Bronson, Freeway, Earl Sweatshirt and Vince Staples. Last week, he dropped his new single, “Crunchin,” which is VERY HOTTT, according to HNHH editors and users and he also gave us his take on what the Detroit hip hop scene is like. This week, a very candid, humble and comical James had a chance to chat with HNHH about his hometown, Detroit, being signed to Nas, authenticity, working with The Alchemist and more.
You’ve always wanted to collaborate with Nas. So how does it feel to be signed to a legend like him?
It’s an honor. It’s an honor to even be able to have anything to do with that legacy or any comparison, co-sign, etc. It’s the best look. It’s not just a good look, it’s the best look.
You once stated that you felt like you stayed in Detroit because your family needs you. Does that change now that you’re signed ?
I can’t really tell you that I’m going to just stick around here forever. I know that I have to branch out so that I can work and mix and mingle with the people that I need to rub shoulders with. For the most part, Detroit is my home forever. I will always have something to come home to here, if it’s not a family member, one of my close friends. My loved ones in general. My team and I are trying to provide opportunities for the whole family and make sure that once the ball is rolling, that it’ll never stop rolling. My team and I are just in a good place right now. We’re not trippin’. There’s no identity crisis going on over this way.
Before it was official that you were signed to Nas’ Mass Appeal Records, the rumors were already circulating, but then they were shut down. What happened with that?
You can’t say anything, especially in this game. You can’t just put things out there because the rumors will spread. I had to clarify that at the moment, it wasn’t official. Don’t put that on me just because there are rumors because I said nothing to nobody. I don’t talk to people about any of my business anyway. I feel like I did a good job of keeping it away from the people until it was really in ink and final, but we’re good money.
What was it like to rock that SXSW show with Nas?
It was like everything that I’ve been doing is not in vein. It really has meaning. From scratch to that point where I’m coming from back stage getting brought out by someone as iconic as Nas, in front of a sell out crowd. The vibe was perfect. Everybody was just chillin’ on some positive shit. It was just all love. You have to love shit like that. That’s what it was. It was one of the biggest moments of my life.
Do you feel that because you’re from the streets, it makes your music more authentic?
Nah, I love the music just as much as I love the money and just as much as I love my bitch. I just love the music. So I try to take care of it. That’s what makes my music authentic. Within trying to take care of the music, I try to keep it real within self. When people hear it, they know me and they know that’s really who I am. That’s the type of person I am or that’s my swag and my style. I’m just trying not to let the game make me what it wants me to be.
Being that your name is based off of being bold, what’s one of the boldest things that you’ve ever done?
What do you think you’re bringing to the rap game?
Detroit. This concrete. That real Detroit shit. This real Eastside, Westside, Southwest, and North-end.
What was it like working with The Alchemist?
Just as big as it was working with Nas because I grew up rocking to that Mobb Deep and Cypress Hill shit. Just to know that’s Al’s world and he introduced me to that world. Once I started working with him, a whole lot of doors opened up. Even the Nas look. That was off that Alchemist card that I got. It’s all love. This journey of mine through music has been different.
Al was really the only person that really helped me catapult my career to get to the level and point I’m at now, other than The Cool Kids. The Cool Kids were the biggest thing that I had going for me. Chuck introduced me to Al and then it was game time after that. Ever since then my flow of traffic has been heavier. That’s what it was like working with Al. It was epic. Al’s a real nigga. He’s looked out for me on multiple occasions, on different levels. Hats off to my big homie.
What are your three favorite songs you’ve recorded?
I couldn’t answer that one either because I’ve been cooking lately. Nah, but so far, what’s already out there, “I Sold Dope All My Life,” because niggas don’t know that was a freestyle. Number two, “Rappies” probably because I got to hear my sister Mafia Double Dee. She’s really not a rapper, but she’s trying to do something more positive with her life. I commend her.
What else can we expect from you?
For me to take my time and continue to do what I do. To make good music and be a great father, a good lover and not just be hitting bitches with the remix and the wam bam thank you ma’am. Cause I’m quick to hit a bitch with the remix. This bully boys street creatures project. We’re working on it. It’s about 80% done. That’s all I do is work. I ain’t never had no job. I’m one of those niggas that really has never punched a clock. Up until recently, that check shit is new to me. I didn’t even know the procedure in which to deposit it. I didn’t know nothing about that bank shit. I know shoe boxes. That’s my world.