Straight out of Brooklyn comes Joey Bada$$, the 17 year old dropped his highly anticipated 1999 tape on June 16th. And to be honest prior to listening to the mixtape I didn’t know what to make of his music. Sure he has confidence/cockiness needed to become a high caliber rapper (He also isn’t afraid to send shots at his elders, e.i. http://www.complex.com/music/2012/05/who-is-joey-badass/wanting-to-be-young-money). And the creativity is there, that is evident not only through his lyrics but also his music videos. He’s featured in Mac Millers America off of Macadelic, which is one of my favorite songs off of Mac’s impressive mixtape. I’ll continue more about Bada$$ and his overall skills after I break down a couple tracks for you.
#4 Survival Tactics feat. Capital STEEZ
So this is the most popular and publicized track off the tape. And for good reason, its overall a pretty fire song. Great flow, sick lines. One way that Bada$$ shows his talents is through his different flows. He can do fast, slow and everything in between. I’ll just post the vid and let you decide the rest for yourself.
#6 Hardball feat. CJ Fly
So I’ll admit that when I first listened through this mixtape straight through the first line that got me to stop the song and go check out the lyrics came during Hardball’s hook. “One day I’m tryna have wife and kids, so I can’t just live my life like this.” I was like what the fuck, okay this is different. Joey Bada$$ isn’t even allowed to procreate with a women who’s old enough to legally drink (I’ve done extensive research on this subject for a number of reasons) and he’s talking about marriage. Rap in the most general terms possible, is based on chronicling your experiences, and since the early 1990’s those experiences have included drinking, doing drugs, fucking excessive amounts of women and gaining material objects. Think about that and then think about the risk of discussing marriage and a family on a mixtape.
All in all this song is about the everyday struggle of the inevitable destructiveness of the lifestyle described in countless rap songs. Yes doing all of the things that I mentioned in the paragraph above are awesome, and most rappers are able to do all of those things and still be successful. But if you have no money or prospects and are still living this way, the only way out is to actually do something to enhance your life, i.e. a family/job. Pretty fuckin rare to hear any of these issues discussed on a mixtape, and I think it worked very well.
This track is a bit all over the place, but in a cleverly effective way. His words, in general, seem to mold together leaving little space for effective silence, but that makes the song. The Pinky and the Brain intro drew a laugh from me as well. Overall this song includes lines like “my studies prove that the Egyptians ain’t shit, cause I believe that we could be like Neo in the Matrix. But fuck it, I’m erratic, my mamma locked me in the attic” over cartoony MF DOOM beat.
#9 Funky Ho
“Don’t let them trap you on the tight rope, spike holes in the condom to form a zygote. Ask Quan he know, he wore a hat but it exploded twice.” Yeah so Funky Ho is a pretty chill track. I guess the best way to sum it up would be-this is him…uhhh….discussing different occasions in which women tried to impregnate themselves with his…uhhh..already expended seed…yeah that’s it. And by the way if you plan on listening to this song, stop at the 2:40 mark. I know that he’s just trying to name drop to get some street cred for his boys, but I have a limit to how many times I can hear “(your name here) leaving no hope for these hoes.” But besides that it’s a nice track.
#10 Daily Routine
At first glance Joey Basa$$ is like any of the cool kids at school: confident, and reluctant to reveal his secrets. But once the beat drops it becomes clear that he doesn’t belong, not with the cool crowd and maybe not with anyone. This songs about his view on life, his goal and his path. He recognizes the sacrifices one must make to accomplish their goals. His Daily Routine includes doing what it takes to make his and his Pro Era crews’ dreams come true. Pretty nice track, we get the softer, introspective side of JB.
Okay I would like to address one thing before I get into dissecting the mixtape further. One thing that I don’t really care for is when rappers incorporate their hatred for the government or capitalism into their lyrics. Like here’s the deal, I understand why a rapper would want to do this. There’s so many young people, some of which are intelligent and some that just don’t know what they’re talking about, that are against government and against our nations capitalistic policies. Everyone is entailed to their opinion and it’s our nations most highly regarded policy to let those opinions be shared. Freedom of speech. It’s what makes America, well America. So with that being said it is by all means Joey Bada$$ has the right to say whatever he chooses. But here’s the thing for every Joey Bada$$ out there bashing their countries government, there’s 10 million in North Korea who aren’t allowed to say “boo” without being sent to a work camp for a decade. There’s another 100 million in Africa that are left without food, water and any means of success, all because their governments greed. So Joey, keep saying whatever it is you would like. But keep in mind the fact that your success as a rapper has only been enabled through of the values the United States.
So with all of that being said I think it’s important to remember that this kid is 17 years old. What where you doing when you where 17? Or better yet what was A$AP or Schoolboy Q or Meek doing when they where that age? The kids a pure rapper, not necessary in terms of having killer lines, but the flow is there and he has the rare talent of being able to bend words in a way that keeps the beat. It’s something that you hear all the time when talking about Eminem. So given that he already has that natural ability, some refinement to his lyrical game and to some of his production could take him to the next level.
This kid is good now…But I could see him developing into one of the all time greats
Questions or comments below or @amckeon32