If you haven’t heard of up and coming hip-hop star Joey Bada$$ yet, then a huge section of this generations best rap is missing from your life. Joey is the front man leading the charge of NY rap along with the “beast coast” movement . Joeys buzz first started back in 2012 when he released his 1999 mix-tape, which was very well received around the hip-hop community. His spit fire rhymes and extremely clever wordplay instantly made me a fan, so naturally I was excited to continue following joeys career. His following mix-tape titled Summer Knights left me widely unimpressed and somewhat disappointed, however dealing with the circumstances of losing someone very close to him I completely understand and respect Joey for his strength. After having a buzz for over two years and two solo projects under his belt, many fans were expecting a debut album that would leave peoples jaws dropped.
With that being said, Joey Bada$$ was at a very interesting point in his hip-hop career when releasing his debut album B.4.DA.$$ on January 20th, 2014. This was a make or break project to seal Joey as a legitimate emcee throughout all of his rising fame, and he took on the challenge willfully. This album is very good at placing you in the 90’s rap feel Joey fells very comfortable in. The production of some greats like Dj Premiere, Statik Selektah , J.Dilla, and Hit Boy do a great job in assisting to this feel. Something I did like is that Joey kept his features very small with Raury and BJ the Chicago Kid maybe being the biggest names on the list, leaving Joey to take the shine on most of the album.
First impressions of this project is exactly what I expected, with Joey spitting some very lyrical bars over boom bap type beats that are all crafted very well production wise. The great beat production combined with Joeys raw lyrical talent leaves any hip-hop head content with this album, but I’m not sure on who else it appeals too. Joey does a lot of things very well on this album, which allows him to be a little more creative on some songs like “Escape 120” with Raury in which Joey plays with some singing on the hook over what sounds like a late 90’s techno beat. one criticism Joey received early in his career was that he didn’t open up enough personally on tracks, or was just making clever lyrics without much meaning . This critique can definitely be put to sleep with this album. Some of my favorite songs like “Hazeus view” and “Curry Chicken”, are some of the more introspective and thought provoking songs from the project.
My only real negative from this album is that we didn’t get anything new from Joey Bada$$. Another 15 song compilation of 90’s style beats where Joey keeps a consistent flow with quotable lines throughout the tape, but nothing that jumps out and makes this project anything better than good.