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Over the past year, Boldy James has confirmed what some of us already new: He can rap over most anything and not only blend into the beat but conquer it completely. Since November 2021, the Detroit emcee has dropped three albums — Super Tecmo Bo, Killing Nothing, and Fair Exchange No Robbery — with three different producers — The Alchemist, Real Bad Man, and Nicolas Craven — respectively. And last week, he announced his next record, Mr. Ten08 — produced exclusively by Futurewave and scheduled to arrive November 4 — with its lead single, “Flag On The Play.” Today’s release, however, finds him in stranger waters, collaboratively speaking.
“Naturally Conspiring” was conceived and produced by the shapeshifting, 13-piece, Max Turnbull-led collective Badge Époque Ensemble alongside the overlapping Toronto psych-rock and beatmaking duo Lammping (Mikhail Galkin and Jay Anderson, who also plays drums regularly in Badge Époque). Together, they create an instrumental that interlaces a complex choral arrangement with with polyrhythmic percussion, a roving bass line, and a tight horn section but — despite its complex structure — comes off deceptively simple and easygoing. “Ferris Bueller / Only difference is / My n***as carry rulers,” Boldy raps early on, setting the tone for an ice-cold masterclass of a verse over this warm soundscape. “Sink or swim / Deep up in that water like a barracuda.”
Boldy shares the beat’s fertile ground of with Toronto rapper Roshin, who starts off shaky — “These rappers gaa gaa, they goo goo / They deep dive me with the goggles from Google / You don’t think that I’m the caca, you cuckoo / We na na na boo boo / You blah blah, you boo hoo” — but saves face over the course of the next minute, proving himself worthy of splitting the stage with royalty.