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BJ the Chicago Kid’s ‘1123’ is an unabashed ode to the black experience


ABC/Randy Holmes

With a decade-long career to boast, BJ the Chicago Kid continues to be a mainstay in the ever-changing landscape of R&B by simply staying true to his roots.

It’s a formula that has proved to be successful for his Grammy-nominated debut, In My Mind, as well as his latest effort, 1123. Delivered this past July, BJ is now readying an extensive tour in support of the 13-track offering. 

Ahead of the trek, kicking off next week, the soulful crooner dished on the unapologetic record, which he best describes as a culmination of pinnacle moments in his life.

“A lot of celebratory moments like singing [at] the farewell speech for President Obama to the Grammy nominations and a lot of other incredible moments [were] put into 1123,” BJ told ABC Radio. 

Opening with the Anderson .Paak-assisted track “Feel the Vibe,” listeners are welcomed to a family gathering filled with music, colorful conversation and a generous spread of soul food. The singer says he was directly inspired by old documentaries featuring James Brown and Marvin Gaye to magnify these aspects of the black experience. 

“I think people understand and they love how we talk to us,” BJ explained. “I think understanding that, it gives me more comfort to continue to do so.”

Elsewhere on the record, the singer offers up tender love letters to black women on deep cuts like “Close” and “Time Today.” 

“My very being is because of a black woman: my mother. The first black woman I’ve loved,” BJ shared ,regarding the inspiration behind the aforementioned tracks.  “I love black women and I think black women should continue to love themselves even the more.”

1123 is now available on all major streaming platforms

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