After singing the hook for ScHoolboy Q's now ubiquitous single "Studio," BET Music Matters alum BJ the Chicago Kid has garnered significant mainstream attention. And on his forthcoming EP, The Résumé, which is set to drop later this year, the Motown crooner looks to show the world what he can do in the lead role.
"This is my opportunity to get it done," BJ told BET.com in an exclusive conversation. "I produced the intro on my album and I produced the last song, then I had outside production from Raphael Saadiq, Jarius Mozee, David Haddon, Dammo Farmer, Harold Lilly, just some producers that a lot of people might not know 'cause they don't really stay on the red carpet, but they like to get the work done. They're some of the people that have inspired me my whole career. I call it 'The Dream Team.'"
With his own career spanning more than two decades, Saadiq knows firsthand what it takes to have a long-lasting career, and according to BJ, the Tony! Toni! Tone! singer has helped keep him on the winning track.
"I sat down with him for some time and really got to soak up some game from somebody that not only witnessed the game, but that's really reinvented himself a number of times," BJ said. "That's something I needed. [In Saadiq] I always had a big brother and I believe without a big brother or mentor it's easy to get lost and get caught up. He gave me so much game, I feel like you'll see the difference in my new stuff from the last time from the game that he's given me."
The Chicago Kid is already working on his next full-length album, which he plans on releasing after the EP. And while neither track list has been solidified, BJ promises some high power guest stars for both.
"I always stay in good company," BJ said laughing. "ScHoolboy Q is on the EP for sure, as is Big K.R.I.T. The album is unfinished but I got a couple songs with Kendrick [Lamar] and Chance the Rapper that I've gotta figure out what I'm gonna do with."
He continued, "[Where the songs end up] is really about making sure the finished product has the right flow. I'm more concerned with the flow rather than who's on it. I think that's what matters more; that's the mentality I grew up on."
R&B has seen a number of rising stars in recent years with artists like Miguel, The Weeknd and Ty Dolla $ign making their presence felt on Top 40 radio. But BJ insists mainstream acceptance is not something he's concerned with.
"I do simply what I feel," BJ proclaimed. "I don't care about the sound that's going on right now. I don't care about what's popular. I don't care about who's popular. I care about what moves me and I trust that what moves me will move everybody else. Combine that with the taste that I've developed from my parents and friends and I feel like it will form the perfect gumbo for me to put out to the world."
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(Photo: Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for BET)