My best friend’s boyfriend described Joey Bada$$ as “slept on,” and I have to agree. The Brooklyn-based rapper is still somewhat left-of-mainstream. Despite having released a handful of quality mixtapes and an EP, he’s still slightly “underground.”
B4.DA.$$ is his debut studio album, offering 15 top notch tracks, four of which were released as singles prior to release.
The amazing thing about Joey is that he’s only 20 years old, and yet he raps with the maturity of someone much older. For those familiar with Joey’s previous work, he’s not really doing anything much too different from his earlier mixtapes. The sound doesn’t change too drastically from the Joey Bada$$ you’re already used to. But for those for whom B4.DA.$$ is the first taste of Joey, it’s a pretty quality drop.
I admit it could have been stronger. But as a white person writing about rap music, I recognize that I don’t necessarily have the strongest of pull when it comes to rap albums. I guess it’s not very FUN. It’s not rap you can turn up to. I wouldn’t blast this at a party, except maybe near the end. I like the slow beats and the rhythmic rapping, but sometimes you just want to get DRUNK. It was clever—I’ll give it that. But it’s not a serious album, and occasionally, while listening to it, you fall into a “elevator music” kind of vibe, where you end up tuning out because the beats often mix into each other. However, a must-listen to track is “Paper Trails,” which really does turn up a little more than the others.
Is Joey Bada$$ slept on? Absolutely. 1999 is phenomenal. I would have loved to see more inspired from that. But I’m a little tipsy right now and I’m appreciating Joey’s slow vibes.
In no way I’m saying this was a bad album. It was actually pretty decent, for a debut. I’d listen to this again, but I’d have to be in the mood.