By Rahul Lal
Fresh off of performing the national anthem for President Barack Obama’s final address, BJ the Chicago Kid stopped by Play.It’s Rap Radar Podcast.
“It’s an amazing journey,” he told Elliott Wilson and Brian “B.Dot” Miller. “I think life is about your transitioning period even still after being on whatever level it is for so long. There’s an elevation that must take place. Man, from singing background to songwriting, I had a few plaques from songwriting even before being at Motown.”
BJ was nominated for his first GRAMMY in 2015 for his hit song with Schoolboy Q, “Studio.” Humbled and appreciative, he spoke about his three GRAMMY nominations. He referred to himself as a “unicorn” in the past because he isn’t quite R&B but he isn’t quite hip-hop either. He has worked with artists ranging from rap’s heavy hitters like Schoolboy Q, Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West, sang with soul singers like Jill Scott and Stevie Wonder and worked on hits with Chance The Rapper and Kehlani.
“I’ve seen so much, maybe a little too much,” he started. “Being a fan of people like OutKast knowing anything they dropped has always been different from radio spin play, I will always be thinking in that mind frame understanding I’m a different artist… I’ve been a part of a lot of beautiful moments and I just think it’s God’s blessing. Him giving me the knowledge with the understanding that it’s not just about the money. Nobody will ever pay you worth your talent.”
He is clearly proud to be signed to Motown Records, and to be able to carry on the legendary label’s tradition.
“It’s an honor to carry the torch even further. They’ve done enough to chill and leave it alone. They ain’t need nobody to do nothing even now,” he said pridefully. “It’s an honor to be picked, it’s an honor to run with it. It’s an honor to have people running with me to carry the torch. I went back to the museum, I wanted to go back, I wanted to know. It ain’t like I just wanted to be signed because of a name or anything like that, I could’ve went a few places. I’m honored and happy to be at a place that has such a legendary background that I have no other choice to move forward in that.”
He also discussed advice given to him by legendary singer Raphael Saadiq: “He said ‘Just for people to listen to your music, do you know how blessed you are?’ Think about how many artists there are that exist?” he said. “Dead or alive, the music is out, they could go get it because it’s an option for them. So, imagine them clicking on your music. All you artists out there that are watching this and clicked on this by mistake, understand that. You are blessed for them to just click and press download, press play, to stream it, to buy it, whatever. We’re blessed as a people for people to just honestly rock with us and hear what we want to say.”
Big things are on the way for BJ The Chicago Kid. To listen to the full interview, check out the latest episode of Rap Radar podcast on CBS Radio’s Play.it podcast network.