This is the long-awaited sophomore album from Detroit emcee Boldy James. A man who rose to fame with his Alchemist produced 2013 debut M.1.C.S. (My 1st Chemistry Set). This resulted in a contract with Nas’ independent label Mass Appeal Records, but unfortunately Boldy got locked up for a while. He eventually made his comeback a few years ago with his House of Blues mixtape & now after reuniting with the Uncle Al on his Boldface EP a couple months ago, they’re back again with The Price of Tea in China.
The album kicks off with “Carruth”, where Boldy reminisces on his past over some piano chords & a chilling vocal sample in the background. The next song “Giant Slide” gets mafiosio over a boom bap beat laced with these eerie whistling noises while the track “Surf & Turf” with Vince Staples sees the 2 talking about being overlords backed by this intoxicating instrumental. The song “Run-Ins” talks about being chased by the cops over a repetitive vocal sample that fits in flawlessly, but then it switches into a grimy ass beat leading into the track “Scrape the Bowl” with Benny the Butcher as the 2 talk about smuggling coke to their respective hometowns. The song “Pinto” talks about being rich from the drug game over a beat with these luscious string sections while the track “Slow Roll” finds Boldy flexing over an intimidating instrumental.
The song “S.N.O.R.T.” essentially gets back on the coke tip alongside Freddie Gibbs over a gritty beat then the track “Grey October” with Evidence sees the 2 pouring their hearts out over a psychedelic instrumental. The song “Mustard” has a funereal feel to it that I really like despite being way too short while the penultimate track “Speed Demon” talks about criminal activity over a boom bap beat with some nice horn samples. Then there’s the closer “Phone Bill”, which is about going from broke to rich over a calming beat.
For a comeback album, it’s damn near perfect to the point where it almost feels like Boldy never left. His pen game is still razor sharp as it was on the debut & Alchemist continues to provide him with brilliant musical soundscapes that help bring his bars to life.