Joey Bada$$ delivers a knockout punch on ‘ALL-AMMERIKKKAN BADA$$,’ exceptionally capturing being black in America.
Joey Bada$$ – what a bada$$ name to say the least. Okay, corny, but an irresistible ice-breaker. The 22-year old rapper isn’t the least bit humorous on his latest album, ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$. The reason is because he’s constructed an effort that is a socially and politically driven tour de force. He paints a picture of the state of being black in America – particularly the black male – and what the next steps are in the resistance of unfair, hurtful situations, etc. The result is sheer excellence.
“For My People”
“For My People” builds upon the socially-driven tone of the intro (“Good Morning Amerikkka”), referencing racism in America, as well as depicting the ascent and come-up of blacks. He uses himself as an example on the second verse:
“…It’s the young black god livin’ out his dreams / What you mean? I been up on an ultralight beam / They don’t wanna see you fly, they just gonna shoot your wings.”
“Land of the Free”
“Trickery in the system, put my n*ggas in prison / All our history hidden, ain’t no liberty given.”
On the valedictory “Land of the Free,” Joey Bada$$ isn’t playing around in the least. Like the Dixie Chicks back in 2006, it’s safe to say that he’s mad as hell. Racism is the focus of his anger, but he takes political shots as well:
“And Donald Trump is not equipped to take this country over / Let’s face facts ‘cause we know what’s the real motives.”
“Y U Don’t Love Me?”
The brilliant “Y U Don’t Love Me?” treats America like a bad relationship where love comes at a premium. Approaching the song in a romantic, love-driven sense makes it among the crème de la crème.
“Tell me why you don’t love me / Why you always misjudge me? / Why you always put so many things above me? / Why you lead me to believe that I’m ugly?”
“Rockabye Baby” possesses toughness – it’s frank from the jump. On the first verse, Joey Bada$$ speaks about revolution, preaching to his audience. As for guest ScHoolboy Q, he references how influential black culture is upon white people, yet suggests there’s still a major discrepancy when it comes to equality.
“Ring the Alarm”
“Ring the Alarm” is among the most confident songs from ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$. “Ring the Alarm” features Kirk Knight, Nyck Caution, and Meechy Darko. Joey Bada$$ takes first blood, bragging about his skill in the game. After asserting himself as “the young intellectual don,” he slaughters the competition, spitting:
“No beef could never hurt me / I be on my Istanbul, they cold Turkey / Firstly, it’s the double entendre monster / Takin’ haunted constant trips through your conscious…”
Joey goes on to deliver the hook, a bridge, and another jam-packed, fiery verse. Meechy Darko follows with his own bridge (“Death before dishonor, I die for my brethren”), later returning for the outro. Nyck Caution handles the third and final verse, assisted by Kirk Knight. Like Joey himself, Caution isn’t playing around either.
One of the best characteristics of “Super Predator” is the production. Statik Selektah outdoes himself, giving a backdrop that manages to be both smooth and luxurious, yet hard-hitting in the spirit of East Coast rap. Both Joey Bada$$ and Styles P are on autopilot, fueled by the awesome backdrop. As great as the production work is, the message is even more powerful. The title and theme refer to the controversial statement by Hillary Clinton, seemingly addressing African-American children in gangs, etc. Both rappers use this oversimplification to their advantage.
Penultimate song “Legendary” pairs Joey Bada$$ with J Cole. The result is a thoughtful record that focuses on spirituality. “Amerikkkan Idol,” summing up the entirety of the album: It’s time for the mistreated to rise up beyond the darkness.
Essentially, Joey Bada$$ is the latest musician to RESIST President Donald Trump. While ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ references the 45th president of the United States, this is more a record about taking a stand for justice for blacks. While this isn’t the flashiest album of 2017, Joey Bada$$ has assembled a consistent, thoughtful record that transcends the normal subject matter and confines of hip-hop.
Gems: “For My People,” “Land of the Free,” “Y U Don’t Love Me?”, “Rockabye Baby,” “Ring the Alarm,” “Super Predator”
Joey Bada$$ • ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ • Pro Era / Cinematic Group • Release: 4.7.17
Photo Credit: Pro Era / Cinematic Group