Music

BJ the Chicago Kid - "The New Cupid" feat. Kendrick Lamar

Just to prove it's 2016, Kendrick Lamar pops in, and it's an unforced appearance, not exploitative in the least. A funky, sexy, eclectic single.

Chris Ingalls: While "Turnin' Me Up"-- the previous single from the new BJ the Chicago Kid album --- was more of an old-school funk workout complete with an arsenal of slick, vintage R&B studio sounds, this track updates the sound and attitude a bit. Giving the lyrics a more ribald flavor, "The New Cupid" is playful, dirty seduction. Heavenly falsettos pepper the verses while the chorus has a classic, sophisticated arrangement, complete with sitars and a generally unhurried feel. Just to prove it's 2016, Kendrick Lamar pops in, and it's an unforced appearance, not exploitative in the least. A funky, sexy, eclectic single. [7/10]

Emmanuel Elone: BJ the Chicago Kid's new single from In My Mind is decent. As it implies in the title, "The New Cupid" is a new take on the love song, where BJ comically says that Cupid's nowhere to be found since he's always "in the club". It's a cute idea, even if it does lead to some particularly corny lyrics speckled throughout the song. Kendrick Lamar's verse is pretty simple, with a basic flow and average lyrics. It's actually quite a letdown, since Kendrick's flow and lyricism is usually fantastic. Also, with "His Pain (featuring Kendrick Lamar)" being one of the best songs from BJ's last album, there was a lot of potential for another great collaboration between the two artists. Nevertheless, "The New Cupid" isn't bad, but it has too many lackluster moments to make it particularly good either, making it a pretty middle of the road song overall. [5/10]

Steve Horowitz: The song has a nice smooth groove. BJ keeps the mood low and sexy, and the instrumental production captures the mellow vibe. The Kendrick Lamar rap is cool, even if it doesn’t quite fit the song, the song is loose enough that it doesn’t matter. The video is downright goofy, which makes much more sense than being earnest about a world where Cupid cannot be found. [8/10]

Pryor Stroud: Starting with a kick-thump Motown drum roll, "The New Cupid" is a generation-spanning soft soul ballad that transplants the archaic romanticism of pre-'70s Marvin Gaye into the hyper-sexualized club scene imagined by R. Kelly. Its verse could be straight out of Kelley's heyday catalogue -- or, for that matter, the catalogue of any brokenhearted R&B lothario of the '90s -- but its chorus is pure neo-classicism: "Cupid's too busy in the club / At the bar / Rolling up," BJ sings, and it's not hard to envision Gaye's protagonist from "Stubborn Kind of Fellow" sitting alone in his bedroom, sheets unkempt from the night before, thinking about how the girl he's got his "mind made up" on is off on some dance floor without him. Yet the jealousy in BJ's voice is far from aggressive; its plaintive, full of worry and desperation rather than anger. The Raphael Saadiq interpolation and Kendrick verse are both welcome additions, further buoying the track's retro-cool modus operandi. [6/10]

Chad Miller: The smooth vocals over the sweet, downtempo soul music makes for a beautiful texture. Kendrick Lamar's verse fits right into the song, and while it doesn't break boundaries by any means, it's still a nice touch. Ultimately though, the highlight comes in the form of the gospel choir effect BJ the Chicago Kid creates, adding wonderful contrast to the saccharine melody, giving the song a nice R&B feel. [8/10]

SCORE: 6.80

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