The Kendrick Lamar responses aren't stopping as Joey Bada$$, who took offense to the "King of NY" line the night of "Control", drops his official response to K. Dot with "Killuminati Pt. 2". Is Bada$$ emulating Kendrick's flow on purpose or am I interpreting this wrong? Whatever the case, Bada$$ says it's "4 brklyn" and cites the NYC legends before him, while also claiming he is them. Hmm, I think that may draw some responses. What are your thoughts on this one?
Singer Justine Skye recruits Joey Bada$$ and an AZ sample for her new preview off the upcoming EP, Everyday Living. I was actually disappointed in Bada$$' feature verse — his flow wasn't a great match to the R&B groove IMO and so it didn't have the smooth delivery that matches his womanizing lyrics. What's your rating??
Head over to XXL's website and check out a cool feature on the Pro Era crew, made famous by frontman Joey Bada$$ and their mixtapes "1999" and more recently "Summer Knights." The Brooklyn conglomerate consists of something like 16 rappers and producers, all of them in their late teens or early twenties, making some great music and spearheading something of a New York hip-hop renaissance. XXL compiled a nice list of each of the members along with a short bio, excepts from their best lyrics, and a few choice cuts of their mixtapes and features. Get to know them so you can say you did before they really blow up (although they kinda already did).
It's been a year of both triumph and tragedy for Brooklyn's Joey Bada$$ and his Pro Era crew, who scored a big hit with boom-bap revival mixtape "1999," and subsequently lit up the internet with a firestorm of press. What followed were scores of interviews, star-studded guest features, and sold-out shows. By the end of 2012, Bada$$ and the Pro Era crew seemed poised to continue their hot streak.
Then, on December 23, Capital STEEZ, who proved himself a stand-out member with a blistering verse on "1999"'s "Survival Tactics", tweeted a chilling message: "The end." The next day, news broke that the rapper, only 19, had taken his own life.
This could have been the end for Pro Era and Joey Bada$$. After the unexpected loss of a close friend and associate, the group could have simply kept quiet and let the media forget about them. Thankfully, Bada$$ and friends used STEEZ's untimely death as a rallying point, and they continue to be a force in the greater hip hop scene, despite the dual events of rapid onset fame and sudden loss.
The collective's latest release, "Summer Knights," proves to the world that they are here to stay, and that's great news for hip-hop fans. It's been a while since artists as young and as committed to innovation as Pro Era have broken into the quasi-mainstream. Factor in their roots rap aesthetic - a sound and group ethos reminiscent of the Golden Age of the nineties - and it's clear that these rappers from Flatbush, Brooklyn are without precedent in the scope of modern hip-hop.
This is essentially Joey's mixtape, and for good reason. He is a skilled lyricist who clearly has a good pair of ears on him as well. His delivery brings to mind a jazz soloist: his rhyme patterns and flow gel effortlessly with the beat in a stream-of-consciousness style, and he rarely sounds the same on any two songs. Joey clearly knows when to rap with straight-ahead laid-back flow, as on notable tracks like "Death of YOLO" or "Sorry Bonita," which both evoke that characeristic ninties head-nodding. Other times, he is able to spread his verses all over the beat, like on "Hillary $wank", "My Yout", and "Word is Bond." He has a knack for elaborately and effortlessly switching up syncopation on beats like these, making it sound like he is teetering on the brink of rapping offbeat, before cleverly ending with a playful rhyme or metaphor. Joey has stated previously his love for rappers like MF DOOM, who raps with a similar style, and it's clearer than ever on "Summer Knights" that he's done his homework, often dropping lines in respectful reference to him. He can even mix up his tone of voice, from appropriately lackadaisical to menacing snarl, depending on the song and subject matter.
The overall sound of the album is definitely a departure from "1999." While it still boasts plenty of boom-bap beats, ripe for laying down some old-school flows to, "Summer Knights" includes ear-pleasing jazz samples ("Hillary $wank"), minimalist piano ballads ("Right On Time"), and a couple of more new-agey joints ("Amythyst Rockstar", "Reign").
Lyrical themes of the album revolve around the struggle between quickly fading youth and quickly approaching adulthood. Joey often seems pretty stunned that so much has happened to him so fast, but quite confident that, at this point, he can handle anything thrown at him ("It ain't hard to be famous, what's hard is sustaining, remaining the same when stuff changin'"). At least a couple songs deal with love in the midst of a culture obsessed with lust ("Right On Time"). There is even a song dedicated to the late Capital STEEZ, "#LongLiveSteelo", which details Joey's relationship with his longtime friend and "big brother I never had." It's a fitting tribute to a young artist who had so much more to offer.
Based on the strength of just about everything Joey Bada$$ and the Pro Era crew have put out in the last year, it's clear that the collective as a whole has much more to offer as well. Here's to hoping they get every chance to succeed and keep rolling with the punches.