Caught Sleeping: Joey Bada$$
Posted in Caught Sleeping
"I GOT SICK OF CLASS, STARTED MAKING CLASS-ICS"
17-year-old Joey Bada$$, the most impressive youth to come rising out of the underground since we can't remember when, is something really special and destined for greatness, not just for underground recognition. He was born and raised in Brooklyn, which doesn't come as any surprise when listening to his music. He's blessed with a crystal clear, rhythmically-minded, and mid-1990s flow that has all NYC-loving hip-hop heads bowing down in bewilderment. He's a youthful presence in a sea of rappers clearly dominated by those who can drink alcohol legally.
His age might seem like a problem for the type of music he sports. How can he honestly relate to the problems of 1990s' Brooklyn? But this doesn't inhibit his creative process or goals. His mixtape, 1999, is a bombshell. It makes you jump up and get excited for what else this kid has to offer. The vibe is effortlessly cool and his lyrics are surprisingly relatable. Most of the tunes are shaped by his family life; he's very conscious of his parents' separation and it teems through his music as profound emotion. Some kids from divorced homes may use this as a catalyst to lash out against specific parents for some very real, life-long imprints, but he loves both his parents for the freedom they have allowed him to pursue what they initially thought was a goofy dream. This passion translates into a classic record, something akin to MF DOOM, J Dilla, and A Tribe Called Quest.
We know we just tried to describe it, but it's really hard to put down on paper just how good this kid is. It's something you listen to and your mind immediately has an emotional reaction. He leaves you saying, "wow..." because you're literally at a loss for words. His talent is unquantifiable, and we want it to stay that way. Cramming him into a category is not useful because, despite his 90s' NYC hip-hop swag, there's still something fantastically individual about what he's selling. Remember when A$AP Rocky came out? How fucking amped we and the rest of the rap and hip-hop community got over his inventive style? Mr. Bada$$ is the opposite of that, a modern twist on a timeless art form, but he's going to be just like that, an instant sensation.