ARTIST INSIGHT: BJ the Chicago KiD

This guy has been popping up everywhere, lending his soulful vocals to some of Hip-Hop’s best current talents like Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper but who is BJ the Chicago KiD? Read on to find out more about the artist.

We already know where he’s from, his name BJ the Chicago KiD (real name Bryan Sledge) gives it away and it would make sense that he worked with famous Windy City artists like Dave Hollister, R. Kelly and even Kanye West coming up back in the late 90’s-early 2000s. Now, he’s signed with Motown and is building up to his debut album with the label, collaborating with a number of big names along the way.

He learned to sing in church and cites influences such as Marvin Gaye, The Whispers, Luther Vandross, Babyface, Bobby Brown and D’Angelo having grown up listening to them – a true R&B/Soul head – and it shows in his music.

Over the years, BJTCK has racked up a long list of features, singing hooks on tracks by artists like Dom Kennedy, Rapsody, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib and the list keeps growing. His strong connection with Top Dawg Entertainment has resulted in some dope joints like Kush & Corinthians with Kendrick Lamar and Lust Demons off of Ab-Soul’s Control System. More recently he’s been collaborating with one of the freshest rappers around, Chance the Rapper, dropping his vocals on the MC’s acclaimed mixtape Acid Rap. Check out the Slum Village-sampling Everybody’s Something.

The streetwise singer put out a couple of mixtapes back in 2009 (A New Beginning and A Taste of Chicago) which showcased his soulful sound, as well as a collection of soul covers in 2011 (The Life of Love’s Cupid) but it wasn’t til 2012 that he released his first official project. In February last year, BJ dropped Pineapple Now-Laters which came as a full introduction to the artist and went down extremely well. It was probably one of the most slept-on releases all year, considering it was easily one of the top Soul/R&B projects of 2012 and spawned songs like the gripping, Kendrick Lamar-featuring track, His Pain II (listen below).

After signing with Motown in the same year, The Chicago KiD released a new track Honey via Soundcloud which gave a taster of what’s to come. The smooth track merges the lyrics of Aaliyah’s Rock the Boat and Jay-Z & R. Kelly’s Honey, and even samples the Bee Gees, all through his unique and refreshing sound.

Now, BJ the Chicago KiD is working on his debut project with Motown Records and the run up to it’s release has been going well to say the least, with a feature on Vic Mensa’s latest mixtape and also managing to get a song on the recently released, and record-breaking game GTAV. Check out the gritty but soulful Smoke and Ride from the game’s soundtrack below.

 

In a time when authentic, soul-rooted R&B seems hard to come by, BJ the Chicago KiD keeps it real and his debut album with Motown is definitely something to look forward to. Make sure you keep an ear out for this artist. You can follow him on Twitter [@BJtheChicagoKiD], head over to his website to download the mixtapes for free and cop his Pineapple Now-Laters album on iTunes.

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