Published Dec 21, 2016While Marvin Gaye's expertise was, famously, sexual healing, BJ the Chicago Kid looks to be laying lyrical claim to lovelorn wounds on his new mixtape The Lost Files: Cuffing Season. The release's standout track, appropriately titled "Uncle Marvin," features the upstart crooner singing over a sample of the long deceased Prince of Soul's vocals. It's a bold move, considering Gaye's inarguably legendary status and undeniable listenability, but BJ is up to the task, keeping step with the beloved elder while also showing just how big of an influence he's been on him, elongating his "oohs" along with Gaye's over elegant piano notes.
And while Gaye's influence on BJ is apparent in terms of form, the Chicago Kid it functions differently on Lost Files songs like "Plain." It's by no means a "Let's Get It On" or "Sexual Healing" retread — rather, it details the feeling of greater commitments as BJ sings, "What do I have to do to prove my love is real?" He positively screeches that last word, and other key lyrics, at a volume and intensity worthy of une petite mort.
Other tracks find BJ playing the role of comforter (as opposed to the distraught fellow in need of consoling that he vividly depicts on "Plain"). "On My Way to Your Heart," for instance, finds him cooing at his companion to "Relax, your seat will recline… There may be a bit of turbulence." He sings with enough effortless confidence to pull such a silly metaphor off, a feat that Gaye would no doubt smile at approvingly. Then there's "Planet Love," perhaps the greatest homage to Gaye of all. The song finds BJ singing about stratospheric sex with lines like "Cloud nine ain't got nothin' on this place" over heavenly bass and keyboard notes that will make you want to accompany them to the heavens. (Universal)