Boldy James Releases 2nd Classic of the Year with 7th EP “Across the Tracks” Prod. by Conductor Williams (EP Review)

Detroit veteran Boldy James linking up with Conductor Williams for his 7th EP. Breaking out in the fall of 2013 off his Alchemist produced debut M.1.C.S. (My 1st Chemistry Set). He would later go on to land a contract with Nas’ independent label Mass Appeal Records for a little while before getting locked up but once Boldy came home, Uncle Al would help get his name back out there once getting out by dropping the Boldface EP around Christmas 2019 & then the sophomore album The Price of Tea in China at the beginning of last year. This was followed up with the Sterling Toles-produced Manger on McNichols which was as equally fantastic, but the Griselda Records-backed Versace Tape EP was a tad bit disappointing given how rushed it was. Bo Jackson though would become his most critically acclaimed work to date & Super Tecmo Bo was almost as great for an EP despite IceColdBishop’s verse on “Hot Water Tank”. Fair Exchange No Robbery produced by Nicholas Craven became one of his most acclaimed bodies of work until Penalty of Leadership surpassed it & Mr. 10-08 produced by Futurewave is up there too, so hearing that Conductor was producing Across the Tracks sounded as thrilling of an idea on paper.

“Terms & Services” starts off with a soulful boom bap beat talking about the first brick he ever touched being the worst one whereas “All Madden” featuring Bo Jack goes for a cloudier approach instrumentally referring to themselves as the real apex predators. “Flying Trapeze Act” brings back the soul samples flexing the way his youngin’ be catching bodies leading into “The Ol’ Switcharoo” unsettlingly talking about the all-nighters giving him vertigo.

Meanwhile on “Undisputed”, we have Conductor dabbling with more of a trap sound so Boldy can remind everyone he got the right mix just before “Lamp Shade” goes drumless talking about them coming to confiscate his onions sooner than later. “St. Juliana” soulfully moves on from there staying 2 commas in & 7 figures strong, but then “Permission” featuring Double D keeps the sampling going talking about needing the ok from them to make the hit.

“Offwhite Lumberjack” nears the conclusion of Across the Tracks on some lo-fi rap rock shit acknowledging that he’s been fucked up in the head ever since they took Tonya from him prior to “Stamps in the Middle” wrapping up the EP jumping on top of victorious horns talking grey squares keeping the stamps dead in the middle of them & comparing the Cuban on his neck to that of a whole trophy made out of diamonds.

Boldy already dropped a top 10 album of 2024 in Penalty of Leadership right when it began & now he’s concluded the first half of the year by putting out an EP that’s as highly enjoyable. His lyricism is rawer than the previous LP’s personal themes & Conductor Williams’ spot as one of the most in-demand producers in hip hop today as well as the standout member of Griselda’s in-house production trio The Heartbreakers is reaffirmed demonstrating his range more.

Score: 9/10

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Legends Will Never Die

Just a 27 year old guy from Detroit, Michigan who passionately loves hip hop culture & music as a whole

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