By: Ilana Michelle Rubin
It takes a lot to be a “good” rapper and these days the lines are blurring between genres. Everyone’s taking a jab at it. Joey Bada$$ is one of rap’s newer prodigies who sort of molded to his craft right away. Recently, Bada$$ dropped “Teach Me” featuring Canadian singer, Kiesza. BBC Radio 1’s notable interviewer Zane Lowe*, premiered it as his “Hottest Record in the World”. Accurate, I’d say.
Bada$$ has always had a silky cadence to his flows. That, paired with a double time beat, has only heightened what are already professional skills, technically and lyrically. Any track off of 1999 will prove that instantaneously. But with this record the content and production morph.
For the most part, these songs have been based in reality and aren’t necessarily to be played in a clubby atmosphere. Sometimes I like to close my eyes, play the song in my head, and see where my mind takes me.** Not sure how much Mr. Bada$$ will appreciate this vision but “Teach Me” brings me to a trendy LES lounge, girls in crop tops and high-waisted skirts, men in those palm tree collared t-shirts and Stussy snapbacks. The image is still very New York but the perspective is altered.
If the name ‘Pro Era’ sounds familiar to you it is either because you are a hip-hop guru beast who gains power from knowing even the minute details about emerging rappers backgrounds. OR it’s because you’re a regular person who just keeps up with the news because an Instagram photo of First Daugher, Malia Obama in a Pro Era t-shirt went viral last week. Ahhh what a world.
That’s neither here nor there, though. Before Pro Era was made so popular by this seemingly ordinary photo they were just a Brooklyn hip hop collective founded in 2009 by Joey Bada$$ along with Capital Steez, CJ Fly, and Powers Pleasant. I like to think of them as the east coast’s Odd Future but different. The collective is comprised of about forty-seven members, not all of whom rap, but each contribute in their own creative way.
If you’re reading this blog that probably means you’re not a music n00b*** and neither is Joey. In 2012 he released his first mixtape 1999 and I’ll be goddamned if someone tells me it does not remind them of prestigeful ATCQ’s Midnight Marauders. On January 20th, Joey Bada$$’ birthday, he will release his first studio album B4.DA.$$ and I can’t wait to see his continued trajectory after this drop.
“Traded in my Nikes for a new mic,
I guess it’s safe to say he sold soles for his new life” – Daily Routine, 1999
*You might remember him from an infamous Kanye interview. But dude’s got a lot more under his belt.
**Yeah, I just read that sentence over and threw up in my mouth.
***Favorite word as of late. Warning you in advance.