Boldy James' The Price of Tea In China is a street dark Alchemist experience
Updated: Feb 23
Detroit rapper Boldy James has released a new album alongside heavyweight producer The Alchemist called The Price of Tea In China on February 7th, 2019 under ALC Records and EMPIRE Distributions. This is not the first that both Boldy James and Alchemist worked together on a project. They've worked together on Boldy James' first album called My 1st Chemistry Set back in 2013, where I thought James sounded like Prodigy from Mobb Deep but on his new album, he doesn't. The Price of Tea In China features Vince Staples, Benny The Butcher, Freddie Gibbs, and Evidence.
The album starts with the song "Carruth" where Boldy James raps a story about his friends being murdered or incarcerated and the struggle in the streets of Detroit. The song has a laid back instrumental with a nice use of a sample throughout the whole song. "Giant Slide" feels like a street rap mafioso type of beat where Boldy raps about handling his businesses in the streets on this Alchemist beat. The following track is "Surf & Turf" featuring Vince Staples and the song shows how Boldy is a real hard hustler in the streets and I love how he tells his story on this song. He raps how he's been doing a lot in the streets of Detroit since being young and that his son has big shoes to fill if he wants to work hard like his father. Vince Staples also delivered a nice verse. Then there's a nice transition of beats between "Surf & Turf" and the following song "Run-Ins" which also has a nice use of a sample throughout the whole song. The end of the song finishes with two men ditching a corpse in a river, which gives the album a dark vibe. "Scrape the Bowl" is a Detroit and Buffalo collaboration between Boldy James featuring Benny The Butcher. This was a nice back and forth track between the two emcees, the instrumental was indeed dark but that's the type of vibe the album is giving so far. Some of the punchlines from the rappers were good like this bar from Benny The Butcher's verse "Two Os in the V like that Canada squad", which is a reference to Drake's OVO. The following song is called "Pinto" where Boldy James raps another story about his street life and dealing in the streets on this mafioso street rap beat.
At the half of the album, we have the song "Slow Roll" followed by the song "S.N.O.R.T". The song is featuring Freddie Gibbs with a dope instrumental from Alchemist and both rappers slew this beat with their rapping abilities. Then we have the song "Grey October" featuring Evidence and this song has toned down the vibe of the album with a slow instrumental where both rappers went deep into their lyrics. The song finishes with an outro sample dialogue. The song is followed by "Mustard" where Boldy James raps a one-verse song and it ends with another dialogue from a mafioso movie I would assume and it continues until the beginning of the next track called "Speed Demon Freestyle". The album finishes with the story-telling song "Phone Bill" which I think had one the best instrumental and sample of the whole album.
Overall, if you're a fan of dark street hip-hop music, The Price of Tea In China delivers just that and you won't be disappointed. Boldy James came with some stories to rap about and each song felt like a different episode. The Alchemist's entire production on the album was amazing, he knew how to use the samples like he always does and his production mix with Boldy James' way of rapping was a good combination.
Beat Instrumental: 4/5
Album Production: 4/5