BJ The Chicago Kid, Live In Concert For a couple years now BJ The Chicago Kid has been the answer when rappers need a little help baring their souls. Watch him step into the spotlight at NPR Music's show during CMJ.

Front Row

BJ The Chicago Kid, Live In Concert

For a few years now, BJ The Chicago Kid has been the answer when rappers known for taking their pound of flesh need a little help baring their souls — from Freddie "Gangsta" Gibbs to Top Dawg Entertainment's reluctant industry darlings, Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q. BJ's instrument is ragged on the edges and nearly perfectly translates the hard times he's often tapped to sing about — but he wields it in such a way that they're smooth going down. That old-soul voice was on full display in his set at NPR Music's show during CMJ.

A master role player, BJ switches from seducer to truth-teller to jilted lover and back again during this performance. With a flexible band — featuring an especially stunning guitarist, Jairus "J. Mo" Mozee — bending to his every inflection, BJ performed tracks from his debut album, 2012's Pineapple Now-Laters, and dipped into new singles, including the buttery, swoon-worthy "Soul Of A Woman."

The highlight came at the very end, when he tackled an almost 15-year-old song that still draws an immediate reaction out of even the most recalcitrant concert-goer: D'Angelo's "Untitled (How Does It Feel)." Many singers won't touch it, as the original recording is indelible. But BJ does it again and again, differently each time, and always tip-toeing a little further away from the past and closer to himself.

Set List

  • "Sex x Money x Sneakers"
  • "Free"
  • "Good Luv'n"
  • "Soul Of A Woman"
  • "Studio" (ScHoolboy Q)
  • "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" (D'Angelo)

Personnel

• BJ The Chicago Kid, vocals

• Richard "Scooter" Sledge, drums

• Jairus "J. Mo" Mozee, guitar

• Eric "El" Ingram, bass

Credits

Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Otis Hart; Event Manager: Saidah Blount; Audio Engineers: Richie Clarke, Kevin Wait; Videographers: Rachel Counce, Colin Marshall, Susan Hale Thomas; Host: Frannie Kelley; Special Thanks: Squarespace, (Le) Poisson Rouge; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann

[+] read more[-] less

More From R&B/Soul

Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Marcia Ball On Piano Jazz

Marcia Ball bends our understanding of blues with her melding of deep southern melodies and rhythms.

Marcia Ball On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/622296437/622349099" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Trouble Funk performs a Tiny Desk concert on April 9, 2018. Eslah Attar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Eslah Attar/NPR

Trouble Funk

We squeezed 12 go-go musicians behind the Tiny Desk. Watch what ensued.

Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage

Ranky Tanky On Mountain Stage

Hear the Gullah-inspired sounds of Ranky Tanky's self-titled release, performed live by the powerful jazz quintet based out of South Carolina.

Ranky Tanky On Mountain Stage

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/606078911/606083350" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

A still from the video for "Not Coming Home" From the video hide caption

toggle caption From the video

With 'Not Coming Home,' ALA.NI Calls For Love In A Mad World

ALA.NI says it best: "LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE.Take it where you can get it, cause lord knows we need as much of it right now in this mad, mad world." That's at the heart of "Not Coming Home."

Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage

Robert Cray On Mountain Stage

On his fourth visit to Mountain Stage, the Grammy-winning blues artist performs songs from throughout his four-decade career.

Robert Cray On Mountain Stage

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/559812351/559817683" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top