BJ the Chicago Kid took the roughly 15 minutes we generally allot for a Tiny Desk performance as a challenge. The 34-year old R&B mainstay used his moment at the desk to fit in as many of his most cherished songs as possible — Nine songs in 17 minutes to be exact.

To get the job done, BJ jumped around his 10-year discography, weaving deep cuts and covers from his early Pineapple Now-Laters days with contemporary cuts like “Church” off his major label debut, In My Mind, to heartfelt odes from his latest project, 1123. Along the way, BJ invited a bouncing bass and violin to play up his melodies and always kept his spirits light on what otherwise would have seemed like a rushed setlist.

It’s clear from his performance at the desk that BJ grew up on Midwest soul and gospel. Taking cues from ’60s and ’70s legends like The Isley Brothers, The O’Jays and The Dells, BJ stirred up a harmonious elixir of his own and delivers a contemporary version of that classic sound.


  • “East Side High 2012 & Forever”
  • “Good Luv’n”
  • “Aiight”
  • “Church”
  • “Love Inside”
  • “Turnin’ Me Up”
  • “Get Away”
  • “Can’t Wait”
  • “Too Good”


BJ The Chicago Kid: vocals; Tony “Rico” Nichols: drums; Jairus “Jmo” Mozee: guitar; Joe Cleveland: bass; Delvin Brumfield: keys; Peter Lee John: violin


Producers: Sidney Madden, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, CJ Riculan, Maia Stern, Kara Frame; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey; Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann; Photo: Emily Bogle/NPR

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