This 17 year-old prodigy from Brooklyn is spitting like he alone will trigger the revival of the Golden Age of Hip-Hop in New York City again. The Joey Bada$$ brash, boyish voice is reminiscent of his native predecessors at their own humble starts. His clever allusions to Hip-Hop classics are a testament to how much research this young man has put in. To have this much buzz at such a tender age, his longevity will prove to be self-evident with time. Along with a few others, Joey BadA$$ is ushering New York back to its pinnacle.
His solo project, 1999 is shamelessly political and points the lens at politics within his own community as well. Joey Bada$$’s makes startling insightful commentary for a boy his age in “Righteous Minds”. He stews over being face-to-face with mortality and the amoral views of the stagnant society he is perched in. His slow rolling, calibrated flow and rhyme scheme changes with each song—almost as if he were channeling different rap artists. He can resonant Mobb Deep at their prime to the more contemporary Kendrick Lamar depending on the track.
In his first video, “Survival Tactics,” which features Capital STEEZ, he has the grittiness and street intellect that most upcoming rappers lack in this ambiguous era of Hip-Hop. The a capella is the centerpiece of the track. There is not a word in excess here. This is braggadocios fight music etched in true east coast style.
Needless to say, it is a relief to see someone so young pay a sonic tribute to those before him. Let this be a humbling tribute to all the veterans. Joey Bada$$ is polished and ready to reign in a new era.
1999 receives a PARL
Written by Linda Li for Parlé Magazine