Published Jul 26, 2019Bryan James Sledge, aka BJ the Chicago Kid, occupies a curious space in the modern music landscape — known but unknown, or at least, not as recognized as he should be. After all, he's worked with Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q and Solange; his 2016 album In My Mind hit hard and earned three Grammy nominations; and he's been amongst the best in the game in some shape or form since the early 2000s.
Mindblowing success, however, has eluded him, but hopes for that to change are high with new project 1123. Featuring production by Cool & Drew, Danja, Dre Harris and Jarris "J. Mo" Mozzee, 1123 comes correct with collaborations with Anderson .Paak, J.I.D, Afrojack and Rick Ross.
Tracks like "Worryin' Bout Me," "Close" and "Time Today" set the tone: this is a summer soul record. Anderson .Paak helps out in conjuring up "remember when?" vibes on "Feel the Vibe," a track that goes down like a sticky plate of BBQ ribs: "Don't forget the cornbread…Mama dancing to some Al Green," sings BJ.
"Playa's Ball" sounds just like one would figure a track called "Playa's Ball" would sound — old school funk with a Rick Ross appearance thrown in for good measure. "Rather Be With You" offers up a R&B/pop feel, and the Afrojack collaboration "Reach" isn't a standout, but a pleasant three minutes reflecting on setting goals and doing what you can to attain it.
That sums up 1123 and BJ the Chicago Kid in a nutshell: shooting your shot and hoping for the best. The project is packed with enough ammunition to hit that mark. (Motown/Universal)