BJ the Chicago Kid has released a new track, “The New Cupid”, that features Kendrick Lamar. BJ’s sophomore studio album, In My Mind, is due out on February 19th. You can stream both “The New Cupid” and the entire album now on NPR and below.
In My Mind is a soul record, though not “soul” in the throwback sense we’ve come to expect. Informed by decades of influence, it is inspired by tradition, not mired in it. BJ’s brand of rhythm and blues is an amalgam of the history of black music: Gospel, blues, pop and jazz and, of course, hip-hop are all represented. Thematically, he covers familiar territory with songs about love, sensuality and infidelity, yet his approach is all his own. BJ juxtaposes the sacred and profane to illustrate a timeless tug of war — between faith and higher ideals on one side, and carnal needs and worldly pleasures on the other. “She say she wanna drink, have sex and do drugs tonight … but I’ve got church in the morning,” he sings, ultimately giving in to temptation in the aptly titled “Church” — but not before praying for salvation. He revels in depicting the imperfections of a man and the powerful emotions that arise when those flaws are exposed (see: “Fall On My Face”). In “Wait Til The Morning,” he pleads with his lover, not in an attempt to win her back, but to implore that she not to call his wife and reveal the adultery. As earnest as he is messy, the song’s philandering protagonist just wants to spend one last night at home before his infidelity ruins it all.