BJ The Chicago Kid: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
Nov. 6, 2019 | Sidney Madden -- BJ the Chicago Kid took the roughly 15 minutes we generally allot for a Tiny Desk performance as a challenge. The 34-year old R&B mainstay used his moment at the desk to fit in as many of his most cherished songs as possible — Nine songs in 17 minutes to be exact.
To get the job done, BJ jumped around his 10-year discography, weaving deep cuts and covers from his early Pineapple Now-Laters days with contemporary cuts like "Church" off his major label debut, In My Mind, to heartfelt odes from his latest project, 1123. Along the way, BJ invited a bouncing bass and violin to play up his melodies and always kept his spirits light on what otherwise would have seemed like a rushed setlist.
It's clear from his performance at the desk that BJ grew up on Midwest soul and gospel. Taking cues from '60s and '70s legends like The Isley Brothers, The O'Jays and The Dells, BJ stirred up a harmonious elixir of his own and delivers a contemporary version of that classic sound.
"East Side High 2012 & Forever"
"Turnin' Me Up"
BJ The Chicago Kid: vocals; Tony "Rico" Nichols: drums; Jairus "Jmo" Mozee: guitar; Joe Cleveland: bass; Delvin Brumfield: keys; Peter Lee John: violin
Producers: Sidney Madden, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, CJ Riculan, Maia Stern, Kara Frame; Editor: Maia Stern; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey; Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann; Photo: Emily Bogle/NPR
BJ the Chicago Kid might have seemed like a newcomer when he earned Grammy nominations for "Studio" (2014), his Top 40 collaboration supporting ScHoolboy Q, and for In My Mind (2016), his debut album for Motown. However, the singer and songwriter had been developing his streetwise mix of vintage and modern R&B styles for nearly a decade, gathering experience as a background singer, guest vocalist, and songwriter with work for the likes of Stevie Wonder, Kanye West, and Lalah Hathaway. Since emerging as an acclaimed headliner in his own right, BJ's secondary discography has expanded with appearances on prominent LPs by Solange, Rapsody, and Anderson .Paak, and the artist has issued the follow-up 1123 (2019), likewise a deeply collaborative work.