BJ the Chicago Kid Talks Early Beginnings, New Album, Kendrick Lamar Collaboration Project
“I came in the game learning and having to prove quick," BJ the Chicago Kid tells TheDrop.fm as he reminisces on his first memory of singing. One Sunday morning as a child, his mother recruited BJ and his two older brothers to sing with her at church.
“I remember we pulled up in front of the church and she had to teach me the note right there so there was no time for rehearsal, no time for nothing,” BJ reveals. “But that was the day I remember falling in love with singing.”
Since BJ “caught the singing bug,” his grind has been a steady climb, but it’s safe to say he's much closer to his big moment. In August 2012, he signed to the legendary Motown Records. Before inking his deal, he released ‘Pineapple Now-Laters,’ his debut album in February 2012. Years prior, BJ was pouring out soulful hooks on tracks for the TDE crew, particularly on 'Kush & Corinthians (His Pain),' off rapper Kendrick Lamar’s first album, 'Section.80.'
“A lot of people thought that I was looking for a deal and didn’t get one. I was doing other things in my life that really would matter for this time that actually came,” the Southside Chicago native explains.
What he’s talking about is preparation. He moved to Los Angeles and began penning records for Jill Scott and Musiq Soulchild, and sang back-up for Usher and Mary Mary. As a solo artist, his movement grew after going on tour with Anthony Hamilton. His friend Levi Maestro documented his experiences on tour in a video series.
Now the singer is working on a new album he hopes to release by the end of the year. Picking up where ‘Pineapples Now-Laters’ left off, BJ's next LP will “challenge your thinking a little bit but give you some confidence in the same bit.” The project is still untitled. “I’m still under this 'Pineapple' thing. So I don’t know if I’m going to go '1.2' or where we’re going to go, but we’re going to keep giving 'Pineapple,'" he explains.
The forthcoming LP will feature ‘Stuck in July,’ a song he wrote with his brother, Aaron Sledge. “[It’s] simply about no matter what’s going on outside, no matter who's saying what about us, with you baby I’m stuck in July," BJ states. "I’m stuck in the best part of the year besides Christmas and that’s gotta try to top this feeling.”
A mixtape may come prior to the album, which will benefit fans looking to hear new music sooner.
There's also the possibility of a future project with Kendrick Lamar. “We've talked about it before,” BJ shares. “But, he had to get that ‘good kid’ out and I had to get ‘Pineapples’ out and it’s all about pace and timing. I feel like the best way that would work, and if we ever do it, is if they fully understand who BJ is and if they fully understand who Kendrick is.
"So Kendrick has explained his point and I have to explain mine. And we’ll come back to speak about it again.”
Watch BJ the Chicago Kid's 'Dream II' Video