For better or worse, 2020 has been an eventful year for some, and it definitely has been an eventful year for Detroit rapper Boldy James. I mostly know him through his association with The Alchemist, as he produced the entirety of his first album My 1st Chemistry Set along with the Boldface EP, and they teamed up again this year with The Price of Tea in China, which is already one of my favorite albums of 2020 so far. Following the release of that project, he was signed with Griselda Records.
Lately, Griselda has been putting out a lot of projects in the past few months, including an EP from Conway & The Alchemist and two projects from Westside Gunn (Pray For Paris and Flygod is an Awesome God 2) with another project/mixtape coming this month. Yes, Griselda is not taking any breaks, and that applies to Boldy’s first project with them, but he’s brought along another name on here… Jay Versace.
If that name sounds familiar, then you’re not dreaming. It is indeed the former Vine Star who’s been producing music for some time now (here’s his SoundCloud to check out his beats), and most notably, he produced a track for Westside Gunn with “Versace” from Pray For Paris. Now Versace is producing the entire project with Gunn as executive producer, and this being Boldy’s 3rd project of 2020 (2nd being Manger on McNichols with Stering Toles), how did the record turn out?
This isn’t going to be a long review, but it’s definitely what you expect from a Griselda project, especially if you know about Boldy James already – their style of ambitious, stony street rap. The thing I like about rappers like Boldy James is his nonchalant, deadpan delivery about the coke game, his way of life, and how it’s effecting his psyche and soul overall. Like in the intro, a news clip of someone stealing a pair of $2500 Cartier sunglasses off someone by knocking their ass down, casually leaving the store and ride out like it’s nothing – it’s basically describing who Boldy is as a rapper.
Some may say this style might be repeat itself from time to time, but the songs never really feel repetitive, and they always manage to find something new to say.. Songs like “Maria”, “Nu Wave” & “Brick Van Exel” illustrate the point perfectly about what he does in his life.
Now, we could either build a dam or we could burn a few bridges (Let’s get it)
Seen the ray van take that left turn on Phillis (Skrrt)
Get you old man Quilles, let it burn on niggas (Brr)
Pray to God my right hand never turn no witness (Swear to god)
Just to save face, was always first on business (Lots)
You probably can’t relate if you ain’t never served no chickens
“Cartier” instantly became a favorite track of mine going into this, and the featured verse from El Camino adds more to the song’s appeal, with his verse talking about how he would ride or die for some people but the only one who would do the same for him is his mom. Plus, the haunting piano production is menacingly effective and just magnificent to hear with the lyrics. Jay Versace really brought some hard-hitting work in this production, from old classic soul samples to movie/TV show clips. It vibes perfectly with what Griselda as a collective has always defined themselves by, with luxury sounds. “Bentayga” might be my favorite beat on here along with the flow that Boldy has on there.
I mentioned that El Camino was a feature on here, but the features are pretty slim overall, being reduced to just “Cartier” and the final track “RoxyContin” with Westside Gunn, Keisha Plum & Tiona Deniece, and the track was short but I’m not complaining as it should showcase more of Boldy James as a part of Griselda and how well he fits in. The project does leave me wanting more considering it’s only 23 minutes, and the tracks can average about 2 minutes or so.
In short, this is a good album for Boldy James’ debut with Griselda where he does what he does best. It will be interesting to see how he’ll play along with the rest of the crew as they are always on their grind. Remember, there are more Griselda projects coming soon.
FINAL VERDICT: Buy It. This tape is luxurious.
THE VERSACE TAPE is on Griselda Records and is available on digital download and streaming services.