Joey Bada$$ has gone great lengths to perfecting his craft since his debut mixtape 1999 which put the entire hip hop community on alert. He along with his group “Pro Era” are a breath of nostalgia in a quickly evolving musical landscape as he mostly flexed his lyrical muscle over golden age boom bap beats as well as multi-layered rhyme patterns.
Joey stays true to what made him famous and doesn’t stray far from this formula on his debut album. Production on this album features usual collaborators such as Kirk Knight, Statik Selektah and DJ Premier.
The opening half of the album contains 1999-esque cuts such as “Paper Trail$” and “Save The Children”, the latter which contains an interpolation of his 2012 XXL Freshman Freestyle. Paper Trail$ also contains a sample from “Unorthodox”, a track of well received sophomore mixtape, Summer Knights.
Joey reaffirms his lyrical dominance on standout tracks such as “Big Dusty” and “No. 99” but his talents shine brightest when he delves deeper into sonic experimentation on “Like Me” and “Escape 120”.the latter of which features a scene stealing verse from Raury ( A TCW Freshmen 15 alumni).
“Like Me” also shows his versatility as he goes back to his Caribbean roots delivering a unique sound which is also used by rap legend Kanye West on Yeezus as well as the 6God himself in his newer works.
B4.DA.$$ is a great listen for old and new fans alike but is still weighed down by the large number of tracks (17 in total on the deluxe edition).Joey hasn’t fully developed into an artist that can carry the entire album on his own and this slightly weighs him down.On the bright side ,though, it shows a rising star with enough talent and enough passion to rise into the upper echelons of the Hip-Hop world.
STANDOUT TRACKS : NO. 99, BIG DUSTY, ESCAPE 120, CURRY CHICKEN
TCW RATING: 7.5/10