James Gardin Gets Vulnerable on New Single "Black Boy Blush"

James Gardin

James Gardin (formerly known as P.H.I.L.T.H.Y.) has used his music to fuel dance floors, radio waves, and social causes. But before landing on RapZilla's 2014 Freshman 10, opening for national acts (Talib Kweli, JMSN, Dessa), and using his lyrics to champion cultural unity and HIV/AIDS awareness, James Gardin had to learn to create for himself.

Gardin releases a new single today via Illect Recordings featuring production by Ess Be. In the current era of rap where being vulnerable is more more in style, Black Boy Blush is a song in that same vein. James Gardin teams up with fellow Michigan creative Ess Be to compose a musical display of the butterflies in the stomach that one feels when they've met "the one". Society makes us feel like women are the only one's who are shy, wooed or charmed in romantic pursuits, but sometimes those roles can change. 

Black Boy Blush is filled with humor, black love, and melodies over house inspired production by Ess Be that dances around like your emotions do when you're with that special person.

Audio: James Gardin "Black Boy Blush" (Prod. by Ess Be)

Black Boy Blush is available for download and streaming at all outlets including iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon, Spotify, and more.

Connect with James Gardin

Gardin was born in Germany to two parents in the Army before moving to Arizona at age four and settling into Lansing, Mich. at age 10. He got involved with music early through church choir, guitar lessons from a mentor, and dug into books to learn how to play sheet music. His later invested into a home studio and took audio production classes before forming a group with other area rappers. Inspired by the success of Kanye West's The College Dropout, he decided to convey more of himself in his music by speaking about his faith more and cutting profanity. Successful underground releases made him a go-to opener when national acts performed in his city.

He broke out in 2009 with Love Songs For Losers & Ballads For Ballers, a EP with Los Angeles producer Jansport J that garnered over 5,000 downloads and got coverage in prominent rap publications. He also began to donate performances and workshops to initiatives and youth art programs such as Michigan State University multicultural organization MRULE. He traveled to South Africa to spearhead a music/arts program at a center for children affected by HIV and AIDS.

Since returning to the United States, Gardin has released several indie releases and has continued to tour. Between 2011 and 2013, he rhymed over Blue Scholars instrumentals with The Amature on "Whatupdoe From BLAT!" (complete with a personal blessing and vocal drop from Blue Scholars), released "A Little Light For You" with fellow BLAT! Pack member KuroiOto, and formed the group Negro Smiling with M-Slago, Jabee and Myk Dyaleks. He also headlined his own 2011 City Limits Tour and performed on several dates of Rhymesayers artist Grieves' Together/Apart tour.

That run earned him a spot in RapZilla's 2014 Freshmen 10, and had set the stage for "Moleskines and Pocket Squares:" his record with Los Angeles producer Trebles and Blues, and his first record under his birth name James Gardin. Anchored by the single "Selah," the five-song set is a journey through spirituality, romance, depression and more. After the success of this record James was given the honor to perform on the Rapzilla stage at the 2014 Flavorfest. All of these accomplishments have help shape the framework for his forthcoming album Living Daylights . Created with long time collaborator KuroiOto , this album is sure to be a soundtrack for all those who aim to use there gifts to impact the world

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