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Joey Bada$$ - 1999 (R.I. Review)

Overview
Joey Bada$$ is a conscious rapper from Brooklyn New York who after joining the collective "Pro Era" went viral with Pro Era's founder Capital Steez in the video, "Survival Tactics". Joey Bada$$'s wordplay includes a lot of the same poetic innovations Earl Sweatshirt had already brought to the forefront of hip hop prior, however that has no bearing on the general originality of 1999. This LP is carried by Joey Bada$$ use of double entendre's and assonance (rhyming multiple vowels in between rap lines). 1999's production is focused on (as the title implies), reflecting the authentic 90's hip hop sound and feel. There are no catchy chorus's or flash synth melodies, the focus of this LP is lyricism and they want you to know it. One disappointing note about the album is that Joey Bada$$ is far more talented than the album as a whole portrays. There are a lot of gaps of time that seem more like filler space than a passionate endeavor.
Defining Track
Survival Tactics is the premier track of this release and features the collective's founder, "Capital Steez." The song is highly political and geared towards painting the picture of a conflict torn environment where the only hope is higher intelligence. Therefore every rap line either covers violence or education. There is very little emphasis on punchlines and the chorus between their verses is essentially a mock PSA announcement about the various ways people should rebel. Curiously, although there is an anti government message, the very delve into political discussion surpasses most songs in hip hop.
Final Thoughts
In seconds, Joey Bada$$'s lyricism could capture nearly anyone's attention. His delivery can not. If Joey Badda$$ ever intends to be a high profile act in hip hop he needs to generally be more exciting. Recycling vintage style and emulating previously pioneered lyricism will keep him afloat, but not on top.

Rap Independent
Joey Bada$$ - 1999
7/10

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