BJ The Chicago Kid's been in the game longer than most people realize. His first work in the industry was on a Dave Hollister record in 2001. He sang backup for Kanye ("Impossible"). He was even in the studio with R. Kelly in 1999 or 2000.

Of late, he's been known more for his collaborations with hip-hop artists, including a spot on Chance the Rapper's critically-acclaimed Acid Rap mixtape. He's recorded heavily with TDE, and his song "His Pain II" with Kendrick Lamar was one of last year's most moving records. In fact, we celebrated BJ's work last year as well—his tape Pineapple Now & Laters made our list of The 50 Best Albums of 2012.

BJ is a fun, vivacious interview. He speaks heavily in metaphors, comparing his career at various points to cooking, basketball, and types of vegetables. He has also clearly spent a lot of time thinking through his personal and artistic philosophies. He  has a deep knowledge of his craft, from the old school days of Marvin Gaye to the new era stars like Frank Ocean, from sacred music of Mary Mary to the profane—up to and including hip-hop.

His career, of late, has definitely been on the rise. He recently signed to Motown Records, and his debut LP is due out sometime this year.

But Who Is BJ the Chicago Kid?

As told to David Drake (@somanyshrimp)

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