The output of songs from Boldy James deserves to be celebrated. The Detroit rapper dropped four projects in 2022 and has already released one this year. All of these projects were also producer-exclusive collaborations. This showcases his chemistry with various producers and range as an artist. Each project has a unique sound, and Boldy adapts to them all.
His signature monotone delivery and bleak subject matter bring many listeners in because it helps his stories stick. Boldly was involved in a car accident this year but has since fully recovered. Interestingly enough, he actually dropped a project the week this happened. For many, this was a testament to his work ethic. However, Boldly seems to be on a well-deserved break at the moment. We highlighted some of his most popular songs before he kicks into high gear again.
5. “Long Live Julio” (2020)
This Boldy James song is from his debut Griselda project. Appropriately titled The Versace Tape, it was entirely produced by Jay Versace. With 3.2 million streams, it’s safe to say people were curious about his production skills and chemistry with another artist. This one finds Boldy rapping over a looped soulful sample. The horns have an easygoing feel, and the drums even drop out during Boldy’s verse.
However, there’s a bass line that remains the entire time. Boldy’s verse is unique because he uses the same end rhyme for every bar. His subject matter begins with a focus on his past and, by the verse’s conclusion, has shifted to his present. During the former, he namedrops some people from his upbringing and includes more notable figures in punchlines later in his verse.
4. "Level Tipping Scales" (2021)
This Boldy James song is from one of his projects with producer The Alchemist. The record is titled Super Tecmo Bo, and this song is one of the shortest tracks on the project. It’s also the project’s opening track. Considering this, the song overviews one of the central topics: drug trafficking. Boldy details his various methods of storing and delivering his product.
Meanwhile, The Alchemist’s production provides an eerie soundscape for Boldy to tell his tale. There's a looping piano paired with a bass line and a subtle sound, almost like a siren. Furthermore, dusty boom bap drums fit well with the other vintage-sounding sampled instruments. With 3.8 million streams, this one certainly drew many listeners into this entry in the duo’s multiple collab projects.
3. "Brickmile to Montana" feat. Benny The Butcher (2021)
This Boldy James song has a feature from one of his Griselda labelmates, Benny The Butcher. However, this was not their first time on a song together. Additionally, someone who they have both worked with is on production - The Alchemist. He provides eerie synths and grimy bass for the duo, elements both rappers have performed well over in the past. This song comes from another collab project with Alchemist and Boldy, Bo Jackson.
Both Benny and Boldy reference each other in their verses. Boldly uses an internal rhyme-packed rapid-fire flow during his verse before switching to his trademark slower flow by its end. The closing moments of it praise his relationship with Benny. With 6.1 million streams, it’s safe to say the cross-section of listeners of both artists immensely enjoyed this collaborative track.
2. "Carruth" (2020)
This is a song from Boldy James’ discography that was a part of many listeners’ introductions to him. It comes from his album The Price of Tea in China - or TPOT in China for short. Once again, tried and true producer The Alchemist handled the production on the entire album. Additionally, this is the first song on the project, too. In this track, Boldly gives listeners a more sentimental recap of things he’s been through. Once again, he incorporates real names of people he’s known, validating the stories he’s telling.
The Alchemist provides a soulful sample loop, whose volume is lowered during Boldy’s verse. Further, the sentimental piano loop enhances the emotional feeling of the verse. The minimal, almost inaudible drums hone in focus on the song’s melody. With over 7.6 million streams, this one served as a well-received opener to the world Boldy took his listeners into.
1. "Great Adventures" (2021)
This Boldy James song is another track from his collab album with The Alchemist, Super Tecmo Bo. Instead of sounding borderline or straight-up eerie/menacing, this song has a luxurious sound. Considering it dropped years ago, some may see it as a glimpse of what The Alchemist favored on his latest collab album, The Great Escape. The production on this track combines a bass guitar, piano keys, and/or a synthesizer and even chimes. Boldly’s comfortable monotone delivery fits well among these sounds as he cuts through them while maintaining the song's atmosphere. Basketball and pop culture references are a staple in Boldy’s verses, and he offers some of his most accessible yet creative lines here. This could be one reason it has over 11 million streams, as listeners enjoy it and may use it to show someone just how talented Boldy James is.
As our list proves, Boldly James has created much of his music with The Alchemist. However, he also has other collab projects with different producers that deserve recognition. Perhaps his output will inspire even more artists to release special collaborative projects. These records are more common in underground rap, but producers like Metro Boomin have also collaborated with chart-topping rappers. These projects help bring new listeners to everyone involved with the project. Rappers should just note if they choose to collaborate with The Alchemist, they will have a high bar to reach.
What are some of your favorite songs from Boldy James? Let us know in the comments section.