Joey Bada$$ – “No. 99″ (prod. Statik Selektah)

What makes Joey Bada$$ such an interesting MC at the moment is, not surprisingly, his combination of youth and talent. This combination leaves us with a technically gifted rapper who is currently at the most crucial moment in his career. While he certainly deserves to succeed, there is always a chance that that simply doesn’t happen–if you think he isn’t smart enough to know this, diagram his internal rhymes and ask yourself that question again. The result? Joey is a with a highly skilled artist earnestly putting over 100 percent effort into everything that he does. On “No. 99,” Bada$$ doesn’t make it sound easy. He’s consciously making what he’s doing sound as difficult as possible. At the midway point, he swaps 90′s style New York delivery for off the wall Jah inspired rapping akin to Kendrick Lamar’s recent style. All the while, he treats the beat as merely a suggestion for the ways his words should play with the time signature. Similarly, the 90′s Boom bap intertwines with the more modern bassline lurching behind it. We end up with a microcosm of Joey Bada$$ himself: reverent and irreverent at once. Yet all the while, he’s unbelievably entertaining while he’s making his statements.

- Garrett Cottingham

Joey Bada$$ – “Christ Conscious” (prod. Basquiat)

New York rapper and Pro Era member Joey Bada$$ drops the 2nd single from his forthcoming album, B4.DA.$$. With the great beat, and the increased aggression on all of Joey’s flows lately, I’m dying to hear this album. Not totally sure when that’s dropping, though. Why, Joey, why?!?!?! We can’t wait any longer!

Check out a video for this track below, and scope a review of Joey’s 1999 tape here.

Joey Bada$$ – “Big Dusty” (prod. Kirk Knight)

New York MC Joey Bada$$ brings the first single from his highly-anticipated commercial debut, B4DA$$. A lot like a song or two from his last tape, Joey is coming off aggressive on this new single, “Big Dusty.” Very aggressive! I’d go as far as to say there are moments where his flow reminds me of the late Capital STEEZ.

Aside from that, I’m not finding anything too exciting about the single. Joey’s bars are sharp as usual, but the hook is pretty underwhelming, and I can’t say that Kirk Knight’s ethereal production matches the tone of Joey’s delivery that well.

Still, I’m looking forward to seeing how big Joey does it on this new LP. I guess my biggest fear is that he’ll spend too much time in his comfort zone, which I think he does to a degree on this track. The biggest surprise this track offered was a beat change on the bridge, which was paired with a pretty ominous mantra: “Cause bitches lie, niggas lie, numbers, too.”

At this point, it’s pretty clear Joey has no intention of giving this album a commercial sound, which is fine, but he seems hesitant to take the kind of adventurous or experimental plunge his underground status allows him to.

Joey Bada$$ – Summer Knights

New York rapper Joey Bada$$ follows up his infamous 1999 mixtape with a collection of tracks that feel more like a sequel from Pro Era’s recently released PEEP: The aPROcalypse mixtape. Still a solid effort, though.

WATCH THE REVIEW

Download Joey Bada$$’ Summer Knights

The song streaming above is one many cuts from the new Joey Bada$$ mixtape, Summer Knights. It’s finally out, and is a must-listen for anyone who was down with the 1999 tape, which you can check a review for below. Enjoy!

Joey Bada$$ – “Amethyst Rockstar” ft. Kirk Knight (prod. DOOM)

Is it me, or has everything that’s dropped so far from Joey Bada$$’ forthcoming mixtape, Summer Knights, sounded hyped, over-the-top, and hungry as hell? I’m digging it, and Joey’s latest wind continues with “Amethyst Rockstar,” which features some aged production from MF DOOM himself.

Check a review of Joey’s 1999 tape right here.

Joey Bada$$ – “95 Til Infinity” (prod. Lee Bannon)

2013 XXL Freshman and Beast Coast MC Joey Bada$$ drops another track from his anticipated Summer Knights mixtape, which has been pushed back for a July 1st release. With all of these huge rap releases around the corner–Kanye, Cole, Miller–I’m not surprised, honestly.

Producer Lee Bannon pulls together a pretty smooth, classy beat, but Joey goes completely bonkers with an over-the-top delivery that is easily one of his most energetic yet. Enjoy!

Pro Era – “Like Water”

East Coast boom bap crew Pro Era, which counts Joey Bada$$ amongst its members, put out their PEEP: The aPROcalypse mixtape on December 21 last year. Three days afterward, member Capital Steez was discovered dead. Pro Era has released this video dedicated to his memory.

“Like Water” was the first track on PEEP: The aPROcalypse, but the context feels differently now. When it was initially released, it felt like the introductory statement to a formative chapter in the story of a rising group of youthful, passionate individuals; now, it feels like a eulogy. But it is not a particularly downcast one, and its new video follows. Pro Era pays respect to their late friend with a sense of pride in his image, spray painting a mural of his face on the rooftop of a large building. It seems to symbolize not only the immortality of Steez’s legacy, but also the group’s decision to let it influence their art rather than set them back.

Watch a video for the Pro Era mixtape below:

Joey Bada$$ – “World Is Bond”

Joey Bada$$ has definitely cemented a place in the underground hip-hop scene with his 1991 mixtape and Pro Era group mixtape PEEP: the aPROcalypse characterized for his long wordplay filled bars and boom bap styled production.

“World Is Bond” is set to be on his upcoming album Summer Knights the follow up to his mixtape  and it seems like he is continuing in the same direction almost exactly with this track. Of course with added recognition his production has received a step up in budget and it feels like Statik Selektah the producer on this track is a perfect match for Joey. The beat is filled with a classic sounding piano loop over top of a great heavy head bobbing kick and snare reminiscent to a lot of the beats on 1991.

Joey is continuing to grow as an MC though with the complexity and messages within his verses maturing as he does. It is always interesting to see how an artist develops and while I don’t expect anything too different from his past releases on Summer Knights that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Pro Era – “School High”

New York hip hop outfit Pro Era drops a new video for the track School High, which was featured on their last mixtape, PEEP: The aPROcalypse. Check a review for it below: