Boldy James Talks “Trappers Alley 2”, Being A Big Nas Fan, & How The Music Game Is Like The Dope Game


(AllHipHop Features) Almost any emcee would be ecstatic if a legend like Nasir Jones were to put his weight behind you in the music business. Hardcore Nas fan Boldy James is no exception. The streetwise storyteller is humbled to be one of the first rappers to sign with Nas’ newly formed imprint Mass Appeal Records, but he is not resting on just a nod of approval from an icon.

Boldy is committed to grinding on his own accord in order to make a name for himself in the Hip Hop game. He has dropped several projects over the last few years including the Trappers Alley: Pros & Cons mixtape and the My 1st Chemistry Set LP (produced entirely by Alchemist). Boldy is now on the cusp of releasing Trappers Alley 2, and he’s been hard at work spitting out guests verses for several other artists as well.

The West Side Detroit native was recently on the video set for one of those features, and he took a break from filming Isaac Castor’s forthcoming visuals for “Arizona” to speak with Boldy shared information about his Trappers Alley 2, discussed a few upcoming tracks with his cousin and The Cools Kids alum Chuck Inglish, and the importance of keeping his fan base fed.

What have you been working on recently?

I’ve been working on Trappers Alley 2. I’m just trying to bring back that rough, raw Detroit sound that I originally come from before The Cool Kids era. Before Chuck was making boom bap beats, he was making these real grimy, dark beats that use to compliment what I do. I’m just trying to find the medium between what my fans expect of me and what I want out of the music. I’m trying to satisfy both parties – me and the fans.

Do you find that to be a difficult balance?

At times, because a lot of times it feels like just because I’m from the ghetto we put ourselves through it a little harder than other people, and seems as if that’s most of the world. Until you get out into the world, start traveling other places, and seeing that’s the minority.

You get to feeling swamped in your own bulls**t that presents itself in the neighborhood. Then you’ll look at somebody that got a regular, balanced life and you get to comparing the two. I always feel like a lot of people won’t be able to relate to me, because I’m from a different world. That’s the challenge. Trying to make people understand where I’m coming from, because it’s not many people that’s really from my world.

At one point in time in my life that’s all I knew – the neighborhood. Once you get out of the urban acclimation mode, then you can spread your wings and realize that there’s more to it than just being from the ghetto.

Is Trappers Alley 2 going to be a free mixtape or are you releasing it to retail?

You’re probably going to be able to download it when I first put it out, and then I think it’ll go up on iTunes too. So if you want to support it, you can. If you want to just steal the music, you can too. It’s all good. It ain’t no big deal. I got a lot of things going on.

People think that the music is everything. That’s just only a part of it. You still got to have a business mind. It’s still other avenues and lane that open up just from creating the music.

Have you decided on a release date yet?

Sometime mid-September/early October.

Why did you decide to go with “Crunchin” as the lead single?

It just seemed like a good idea with my business partners to push that one. It had more of a well-rounded sound. It wasn’t just drill music. It had more diversity to it, so I felt like more people would probably feel that one coming out the gate than all the other music I’ve been making. And then I can’t give the strongest song, and then not follow through with a stronger one. It was just a plan of attack.

Has the response been good?

Yeah, for sure. I put out a song like that “No Hate In My Blood.” That was just a mixtape song, and the people let me know how they felt. They weren’t feeling that joint. They were on my head about that one like, “Boldy, that’s not you,” “That’s not the type of music you make,” “You just lost a fan.”

At the end of the day, I must have felt confident enough about the music before I let it out, so I’m just going to let it do it’s thing. See the response I get, so I can know what to do different next time. Or approach a track that was similar to that one different, so I don’t get the same response I did last time.

You seem to be pretty interactive with your fans.

Yeah, that’s because it’s just like when you sell dope. Your fiends are like your fans. You got to give them what they want, so they can keep spending with you. You can’t sell one of your fans no bulls**t and expect them to come back and spend their money with you when it’s time for the re-up.

I try to cater to the fans for the most part, because they are who made me Boldy James. Lil Moochie’s gonna do his thing in the streets with or without music. But Boldy James, he needs his fans for him to bloom and blossom into the great artist his fans think he really is. I need them to hold me up when I stage dive.

Can we expect a Nas feature on Trappers Alley 2?

More than likely. I don’t see why not. That’s the big homie. That’s who I’m doing big business with, so I don’t see why not. Nas is one of the illest to ever do it. He knows how much I respect his craft.

If you had a Nas questionnaire that asked about this verse or that verse, I think I’d damn near be able to give you word-for-word, bar-for-bar each and every song he ever put out. If Nas did some s**t in the studio that got leaked, I’m pretty sure I heard it and I know the verse.

I’m a big Nas fan. And he must admire something about what I do, because he don’t f**k with n***as. So for him just giving the co-sign and to be breaking bread with me, I don’t see why not. We’re gonna see what it do. Trappers Alley 2 coming soon.

Boldy James + Nas + Mac Miller In The Lab (via Instagram)
Boldy James + Nas + Mac Miller In The Lab (via Instagram)

You’re also going to be on the upcoming Mass Appeal compilation. Can you talk about some of the music you submitted for that project?

Me and Fashawn got a banger. Me and Mac Miller got a banger. Me, Chuck Inglish, and Fashawn got something so dope. We just did it in the studio while we were working on the Mass Appeal joint. Chuck came through and laced us with a beat. It’s called “Off White.” I love that song.

I got all types of stuff in store for y’all. These features I’ve been doing on these other people’s projects. Just random artists that have been reaching out. My feature price went up.

It’s just a good look right now. The money is the motivation. It’s like when you’re in the trap, and you’re trap’s snapping. All that money keeps slipping in and out your hands. That’s how I feel right now. I’m in a good groove.

You’re from Detroit, and that city is known for it’s battle rap scene. Do you follow the battle rap culture?

Shout out to my dog Calicoe, BMF representing, Detroit City, my man Qleen Paper. A lot of the people that battle rap from the city that’s really in the street, I know them. But if they ain’t around here in the streets making no noise, then I probably only recognize them if I see them or if one of my guys back home who f**ks with the battle rap scene puts me up on. I don’t know a lot of them cats. That’s why I’ve never been a battle rapper.

How far along are you on your studio album?

I got like 15 albums recorded. Then a plethora of probably a couple hundred more songs just in the stash. I work a lot. I’m not just one of those guys who blows his life away. I’m always doing something. I’m always thinking of new ways to make money, stay busy. I have to keep working, because you can’t expect to get something for nothing. You always got to work twice as hard if you expect to get anything out life. So I’m working overtime and a half to get that band up.

Boldy James

Download “Crunchin” on iTunes.

Follow Boldy James on Twitter @BoldyJames.