Boldy James, the blue-collar Detroit rapper who made noise last year with his Consignment, Favor For A Favor mixtape began working with Decon on his commercial debut, Grand Quarters earlier this year. The EP was titled after a once bustling and illustrious Detroit night spot that fell into disrepair, a beacon of blight whose reference is employed as a reminder of neglected majesty and and the work ethic it takes to overcome at any cost. Perched above a crumbling city and documenting the ongoings, James personifies that ambition.
Boldy’s first long-play, My 1st Chemistry Set, debuted on October 15th via Decon / Mass Appeal and was produced entirely by LA super-producer Alchemist. It was lightning in a bottle with these two cooks in the kitchen, and fans of murder music across the country got to experience the chemistry this fall when both Boldy and Al joined the legendary Mobb Deep on a string of US tour dates. The album’s first leak, “Moochie” premiered on FADER, and was so hot that Danny Brown took to Twitter to let everyone know about it. Following with the track “Reform School” Boldy had everyone from Mac Miller to Earl Sweatshirt buzzing publicly about his lyrical gift and Alchemist’s legendary production. The album hit Pitchfork as an advance stream and immediately lit all the key tastemaker blogs on fire.
Boldy’s is a uniquely paired-down style, relatively barren beats propped up by stanzas that fill it’s vacancies, devoid of shiny alloys. He’s a deft storyteller, spitting deceptively bare-bones bars with a distinct midwestern lean over icy instrumental avenues. Boldy is in good company in a town that many fled but he is evidence that Detroit’s not going anywhere.