“Suspect niggas don't come outside. You might get your wig pushed back tonight. Said I deserve my respect. Brains don't matter if your wig get split on some 3rd eye shit.”
When it comes to recreating the NY hip hop of the early 90s, who knew a 17 year old teen from Flatbush is nearly hitting that mark in 2012? With the release of his debut mixtape 1999, Joey Bada$$ persona bleeds hip hop nostalgia. It's like a downloadable ticket to hip hop's glorious past. The mixtape's title is a representation of the last year in of the era he loves and hopes to bring back those memories to the present. Surprisingly, for his age and modern times, a lot of attention was given to the detail of his lyrics, rhyme scheme and beat selection to be reminiscient of his lyrical forefathers. As far as the name goes, it's more of a description of his rapping more than his self image.
Growing up in Brooklyn, the young emcee's influences were obviously Jay Z, Nas and Big. The first song he remembered word-for-word was even Biggie's "Hypnotized" at the age of 2. That may seem like he doesn't know too much about his music, but then again, everyone deserves a chance to prove themselves. By studying the decade before his time and applying it to now, he's starting to make a point.
From a kid that was a huge Young Money fan to converting to a state of higher consciousness as his angle, Joey seemed to have made the right moves musically. Like many new artists coming out today, Joey Bada$$ was found via Twitter by Jonny Shipes. Jonny Shipes just happens to manage artists Big K.R.I.T. and Smoke DZA as well. With an artist that has a lot of time to mature combined with experienced management and guidance, Joey just might have a shot at being named among his influences even in years to come.
1999 finds itself in a mashup of every element leading with punchlines that will surely remind listeners of that gritty era Big L poise, the seemingly Illmatic storytelling, and I question myself in all seriousness: "How is this kid only 17?" This project has everything that reminds me of why I fell in love with hip hop to begin with, it is prime example of hip hop in it's finest hour. He's conscious without coming off preachy, his subject matter hits the target precisely and ever since this mixtape dropped, I haven't been listening to anything else (sorry submissions). This project leaves me not skipping any tracks. That being said, he's got next.
Dare I compare it to an Illmatic debut? No. But with that being said he's channeling a new wave and bringing old soul to the table, allowing us to change the way we listen to music. But when all is said and done, will it be too late before the general public catch on until? I wonder why he hasn't blown up the way he should yet? Right now, we wake up in the morning, turn on the radio, or hit various blogs, listen to what they have to offer, and we are quick to quip about how rap music isn't the same as when we were growing up. We feel cheated, and fall out of love with something that has held us up for a great amount of our childhood. Well, I am proud to say that we have someone whose is actually bringing the golden era flava that we've all been fiending to savor. And I tip my hat to a young fellow from Brooklyn.
Joey Bada$$, I salute you...