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Album Review: Joey Bada$$, “BA.DA.$$”

Jørund Føreland Pedersen, FLICKR

Joey Bada$$, the 20-year-old rapper from Flatbush best known as the leader of Pro Era, recently released his first solo album “B4.DA.$$,” on Jan. 20. His style recalls hip-hop’s golden age and is heavily influenced by fellow Brooklyn emcees Jay-Z and Nas. The combination of his trademark style, an impressive list of collaborators and the occasional exploratory track makes for a debut that lives up to its hype.

Bada$$’s long anticipated “B4.DA.$$” (pronounced “Before Da Money”) is an aggressive debut album from the Brooklyn based rapper. Several of the album’s tracks were pre-released over the past few months, including “Christ Conscious,” “Curry Chicken,” “Big Dusty,” “No. 99,” “On and On” and “Teach Me.” Of these, the first four stay true to Bada$$' special recipe: a healthy serving of old school (b)east coast hip hop, pungent lyricism and a hint of reggae. However, tracks like “Black Beetles,” “On and On,” “Escape 120” and “Teach Me” represent deviations from previous Bada$$ material.

Standout track “Escape 120” features up and coming artist Raury. And while neither can legally drink yet, the joint track allows the young rappers to showcase their emerging talents. Action Bronson, Chronixx, Kiesza, BJ the Chicago Kid and Pro Era members Maverick Sabre and Dyemond are also featured on the album.

With many hip-hop artists are embracing an electronic trend, Bada$$ avoids the trap trap (pun intended) and pays homage to old school Brooklyn rap. His lyrics cover it all: love, money, family, religion, crime and punishment. “B4.DA.$$” gives listeners an intimate look at Bada$$ - the tough rapper from the streets of Brooklyn, the only child of divorced parents and the future superstar.

Best tracks

For the Bada$$ purist: “Christ Conscious”

For something new: “Escape 120” feat. Raury

For a catchy tune: “Teach Me” feat. Kiesza


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