This album was released on August 13th this year. Boldy James & The Alchemist released one of the better albums of last year with The Price of Tea in China, so I was pretty excited when I saw that this project was announced. Boldy James had a huge year last year. Along with the aforementioned album, he also released three other albums with Sterling Toles, Jay Versace, and Real Bad Man. All of them are worth listening to if you’re a fan. The best one was definitely Manger on McNichols, the collaboration with Sterling Toles. I kinda regret not reviewing it. It was even better than The Price of Tea in China in my opinion. Both of them are really great albums though. I’ve always liked Boldy James, but last year is when I really became a fan. My hope is that this latest album will be his best project. I think it has the potential to be one of the best albums of the year, so I’m really excited for this.
The album begins with my favorite track, Double Hockey Sticks.
I think this was an amazing way to start the project. It had me really excited for the rest of the album. The production from The Alchemist here is really tense and cold sounding. I love it. I think it fits Boldy’s style perfectly. He killed the first verse.
All my youngins scam bank statements, couple hundred bands
Since third grade we been poppin' on the avenue
Chopped a hundred grams in the basement with the dungeon fam
Serve Js, go up top, we the addict crew
Gave him a tester of some shit that I had grabbed from Ghoul
Way that he was sweatin', would've thought that he had had the flu
The beat switches up after the first verse and gets a bit more melodic and hard-hitting. I think the second beat is even better than the first one. Boldy’s flow at this point gets a lot bouncier too, which I appreciate. I think they both killed this shit. It’s mainly the stellar production that pushed this song to the next level for me. Unfortunately none of the other songs really blew me away like this one did, but I still enjoyed all of them to some extent. Track 2 is called Turpentine, and it has a nice smooth, melodic, sample-based beat.
I’d actually say it’s one of the better beats on the album. I think it’s dope. All of the verses from Boldy on this track are really nice too. I mean, the rapping didn’t blow me away or anything, but it was definitely above average. There’s no hook or bridge or anything like that; they keep the structure pretty straightforward. There’s really nothing about the song that I dislike. I think it’s a dope track. It’s followed by another good one called Brickmile to Montana. This one starts with a pretty great verse from Benny the Butcher. I think he had a pretty great flow. The dark production from The Alchemist is really great too. As much as I liked the first verse from Benny, I’d actually say that Boldy had the better performance. His lyrics just seemed a lot colder.
Catch you lackin' in the drug zone, my bullies revokin' your G pass
Niggas had them skullies rolled up for too long, they must've forgot they was ski masks
Get him touched like a keypad, send a hundred through his G-Wagon
Slide through the kickback, spin niggas' blocks, come back, and shoot up the repass
He killed it. The song is pretty short, and it has a very straightforward structure. I think it’s one of the best tracks on the album though. It’s dope as hell. The following track is entitled EPMD. I really love how melodic the beat here is. It didn’t impress me that much on my first listen, but it grew on me over time. There were a lot of quotable lines in the first verse from Boldy. My favorite one is probably the line where he said something about snatching a brick from somebody and then selling it back to them. That was hard. The first verse is great. The second verse is pretty good to me too, although it didn’t contain as many standout lines. I still think the song is really dope overall. Steel Wool has one of the hardest beats on the album in my opinion. It’s kind of simplistic and repetitive, but it fits Boldy’s style really well. He killed the first verse too.
Basement on Honda Civic, Auntie maxin' out her Bridget Cup filled to thе rim, probably smack the whip before I spill it Knee deep in thе dope game, 227, we the realest Cocaina on the skillet, kitchen smellin' like acrylic Touch back with a thousand pack of pills, tryna rape a village Weed so loud, reekin' through the vacuum seal, I can't conceal it Made a killin', to those that hate it, I made 'em feel it Sold dope all of my life, so shit, I only know one way to get it
I even like the hook on this song, and the second verse is fire too. This is another really dope track. Photographic Memories stands out a lot from the tracklist just because it has features from Earl Sweatshirt & Roc Marciano. I really like how melodic and soulful the production is here. It still sounds pretty hard despite having a Soul sample. The first verse from Boldy is great.
Cashin' in, always gritted it out, never had a Benz
Askin' God, "If this was my last resort, how is that a sin?"
'Cause if a nigga would've went with his first mind
Premeditated, out of all these killers, we the worst kind
I think he had the best verse on the song overall. Earl‘s verse was cool, but none of the lines stood out that much to me, and I’m still not crazy about his delivery. Roc Marciano definitely had my second favorite verse. If he had a more interesting delivery and flow it probably would’ve been my favorite verse on the song.
Broke generational curses with my cursive
I understand the game and I know all of the inner workings
The pain run deep, you only see what it is on the surface
My bitch in there squeaky clean, but the work was sittin' in her cervix
He killed it to be honest. I think the song is really dope overall. It’s followed by another dope song called Speed Trap. This song has one of the darker beats on the album, which I appreciate. I think the production is great. Boldy spits with a relatively fast paced flow on this song too, which is cool. I think both of the verses here are great.
Goin' up the turnpike on my third strike
State troopers to the left, next exit, merge right
Got behind us, but they should've flicked the car behind us
If they knew what was in that Honda, probably serve life
The hook doesn’t really add much to the song for me since it’s so straightforward, but it serves its purpose well enough as a break between the two verses. I think the song is really dope. It’s followed by another highlight for me entitled Diamond Dallas. It features a sung hook from Stove God Cook$, which I actually really love, and the slow, melodic production from The Alchemist is phenomenal. There’s just one verse from Boldy on this track, and it’s not amazing or anything, but I enjoyed it.
Brickies flakin' like some dandruff
See more keys than some handcuffs
That’s probably my favorite couplet in the whole verse. The song kinda feels like a love song dedicated to crack. It’s really fucking good. I think the song is dope as hell. Flight Risk is one of the shortest tracks on the album, but I think it’s pretty great.
I love how cold-blooded and spooky the production here is. Conway would fit over this beat like a glove. It’s fire. Boldy James killed the verse here too.
I know Sergio, I know Tacchini plug, do Gianni, nigga, no Versace
Still servin' blow out the 'ghini, steppin' on the coke like a pair of 'raches
In the spizzy runnin' up a check, with them thirty-sixes and them R Kells
Heard that nigga tell a lot of shark tales and I'm really not that impressed
This would probably be one of my favorite tracks on the album if it had a more fleshed out structure. There’s not much going on in this song aside from the one verse from Boldy. A guest feature from Conway really would’ve pushed this to the next level in my opinion. The song is still dope as it is though. I fuck with it. It’s followed by my least favorite track, Illegal Search & Seizure. I don’t think it’s a bad song at all, but it doesn’t impress me as much as the others. With that said, I still think it’s pretty entertaining overall. A lot of what I said about Flight Risk applies to this track. It’s got a very straightforward structure. There’s just one verse from Boldy, and it’s pretty good. the beat is also just “pretty good” to me. I think it’s a really pretty instrumental, but this isn’t really the sound I wanted from this album to be honest. I prefer Boldy over darker beats. This is still a pretty good track—just not one of my favorites. I fuck with it though. It’s thankfully followed by a highlight entitled Fake Flowers. This track has one of my favorite beats on the album. This is the kinda shit I like hearing Boldy over. The beat just sounds so cold and ominous. I love it. The first verse from Boldy is pretty great.
My life is what it look like when God favors you
If you know what I made it through, then you can understand
How we got the upper hand and how that bubble Benz navy blue
You do what you do to get paid, I do what I get paid to do
Can't even count for all that money I done made with Goo
So much dope in this bitch, they fuck around and raid the stu'
The second verse is performed by Curren$y, and if you know me well, you know that I’ve never been a fan of the guy. I think he’s an incredibly boring artist. With that said, I was pretty pleased with his performance here. His monotone delivery sounds a lot better over this type of production rather than the smooth shit he usually raps over. I think he was rhyming pretty well on this verse too.
Cars park slanted, diagonal outside the castle
Ferraris gallop, the bulls dashin', Porsches skedaddle
Shiftin' gears with the paddle, boxin' my shadow
Countin' stacks from music and fashion is multitaskin'
The price is the price, it all depends on who you askin'
Park crooked in the 'Vette, my partner had to vanish
I was assessin' the damage, same time plannin' the mansion
With the showcase driveway, backyard with the hammock
His verse was cool. However, Freddie Gibbs easily had the best performance on the whole track. He has a relatively fiery delivery. Boldy & Curren$y are two very monotone artists, so the juxtaposition between them and Freddie is kinda nice.
It's kinda mani' how my brain be workin'
Nigga ran through Indy with them oxys, had them eighties workin'
And if he old enough to hold a strap, I'll have your baby workin'
Youngsters on that EMPCP, they ain't afraid to murder
Insane rabbit gang, I'm talkin' gang of murder
Jewish lawyers make the polices look like they framed the murders
I don't sell no work on the phone, bitch, I got junkies servin'
KTR the army, ho, go and get you a navy service
He killed it. The song is dope as hell. Track 12 is called 3rd Person, and it has one of the better beats on the album in my opinion. Both of the verses from Boldy are really good too.
Not to mention, in dedication, I done saved lives
On two separate different occasions, I was grazed twice
Wish I could say the same for him, he couldn't catch a break
He hesitated, now that nigga in a better place
I even like the hook on this track. Nothing about the song stands out in a bad way. I wouldn’t exactly call it a highlight for me on the album, but it’s very dope. I fuck with it. The penultimate song is a highlight entitled First 48 Freestyle.
I really love The Alchemist’s production on this track. It’s probably got my favorite beat on the whole album to be honest. I think Boldy killed the verse here too.
Tellin' niggas that he gang, no he motherfuckin' ain’t
Free my brother Hank, I’ll get you hit up with a rusty shank
All these self-proclaimed real niggas just a bunch of flakes
Cappin' like you pressin’, big steppin', out here touchin' pape
Really out here Jeffin', Etch-a-Sketchin’, wouldn't bust a grape
Shorty hit him broad day, ain't even cover up his face
In Detroit, we known to take a town, known to flood the state
Can make the same monies breakin' down as niggas touchin' weight
The song feels like a sequel to the Speed Demon Freestyle, which appeared as the penultimate track on The Price of Tea in China. Pretty much everything I loved about that song is present here. We’ve got an amazing beat from The Alchemist, and one really great long verse from Boldy. The song is dope as hell. The closing song is entitled Drug Zone.
The production honestly doesn’t stand out on this track very much to me at all. I don’t think the beat is bad, but it’s just not very memorable. The first verse from Boldy is pretty good. The lyrics in the hook stood out a lot to me too.
Catch me in traffic, they don't want no smoke or no Nicorette
'Cause I be in the drug zone with it
Where we really active, we don't post guns on the internet
You know I be with them drug zone killers
Thinkin' he a savage, but the whole hood know he been a rat
I'm just a drug zone nigga that'll swing the traffic anywhere the custos spendin' at
The second verse is dope too. Nothing about this song really blew me away, but I definitely enjoyed it to some extent. With that said, I think it’s kind of a weak way to end the album, and it’s definitely one of my least favorite tracks.
This album is pretty great. I don’t think it’s as good as The Price of Tea in China, and I wouldn’t say it’s one of the best releases of the year for me, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I feel like everything I said about The Price of Tea in China kind of applies to this album. They didn’t really do anything drastically different this time around, which I’m fine with. I don’t think any of Boldy’s fans will be disappointed with this album because they should know what to expect. Again, I personally don’t love this as much as The Price of Tea in China, but I can’t even say that I’m disappointed because it’s almost just as good. This shit is great. Check it out.
Favorite Song: Double Hockey Sticks
Least Favorite Song: Illegal Search & Seizure
Watch the video below for more thoughts on this album.