Hip-hop has seen more than a few rappers build a buzz and be crowned as the "next best thing," only to amount to nothing more than a footnote in history. And while being expected to wow the world and live up to the hype is no easy task by any measure, doing so at such a young age can be especially taxing.
But Joey Bada$$ is one rapper who has proven himself able to flourish in spite of those pressures. The Brooklyn, N.Y. native has managed to rise to the occasion and become an all-around artist, which many have predicted during his initial rise to fame.
Coming out the gate with his 2012 effort, 1999, Joey instantly became the "it" kid for Golden Era enthusiasts, who touted him as the one to watch. And although his growth would be a gradual one, in just a few years time, the Pro Era leader has proved himself worthy of all the praise bestowed. Along with his Pro Era rap collective, Joey has developed an organic following who have supported him through two studio albums.
Joey's just-released effort, All-Amerikkkan Bada$$, is a testament to the leaps he has taken artistically and looks to be another big step in his rap career.
After giving All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ a few spins, we've selected the five best songs from the project. Did your favorite make the cut?
"Land of the Free"Joey Bada$$
"Three K's, two A's in AmeriKKKa / I'm just a black spade spawned out the nebula," Joey Bada$$ professes on "Land of the Free," a Kirk Knight & Adam Pallin-produced banger from All-Amerikkkan Bada$$. On the track, the Brooklyn native has a moment of clarity. "Sometimes I speak and I feel like it ain't my words / Like I'm just a vessel channeling inside this universe," he raps.
"Rockabye Baby"Joey Bada$$ Featuring ScHoolboy Q
"Rockabye Baby" is a big standout on the album. Produced By Adam Pallin and Chuck Strangers, the track sees Joey Bada$$ phoning in Schoolboy Q for an exchange of screw-face inducing couplets, with the Brooklyn phenom spitting, "I said n----s pop s--- all the time / Me I don't trip 'cause they know I'm never lyin' / Lookin' between the lines, feel like Ali in his prime / As-Salaam-Alaikum, alaikum salaam." Meanwhile, ScHoolboy Q turns in a mind-numbing verse, with insightful lines like "From gettin' lynched in field into ownin' buildings / Getting millions, influencing white children / And oddly we still ain't even" showing how far we've come as a nation, while still noting how far we have to go.
"Super Predator"Joey Bada$$ Featuring Styles P
"America’s number one, you can bet on ya life!" a sample barks at the outset of "Super Predator," another highlight from the LP. Both Joey and Styles P deliver intricate wordplays on the powerful song. "Typical AmeriKKKa, damn sure ain't no miracle / Word to Steezy, I’ma keep this s--- lyrical," spits Joey, while the Ghost spews his own barrage of grisly musings. Produced By Statik Selektah, the song is an exceptional composition that is destined to become a fan-favorite on All-Amerikkkan Bada$$.
Joey Bada$$ is renowned for his lyricism, but he employs his knack for melody on "Temptation," another standout track on the project. Produced By Adam Pallin & Kirk Knight, the song finds Joey asking, "tell me how we gonna shape this vision / Complaining all day, but in the same condition" and taking to the country to task, resulting in one of the more electrifying songs on the album.
"For My People"Joey Bada$$
All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ delivers an immediate crescendo with "For My People," a Adam Pallin & DJ Khalil-produced banger that is sure to resonate with rap fans. "This for my people, tryna stay alive and just stay peaceful / So hard to survive a world so lethal / Who will take a stand and be our hero, of my people, yeah? / This for my people," Joey croons over the live instrumentation. Throughout the song, Joey Bada$$ raps unbridled lyrics about social justice and humanity. Arguably, "For My People" is the best track on the album.