Joey Bada$$ - Summer Knights (not so much a review as it is a general thought)
In the ‘hash-tag rap’ and ‘drill’ era, invoking the names of artist’s such as Black Sheep and D.I.T.C would probably get you a weird look and a shoulder shrug. Fortunately, however, hip-hop’s product mix has been diversified, and has recaptured an essence that has largely been missing since the turn of the decade, thanks to a young fella from Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York, Joey Bada$$, who is returning with his new mixtape, the long-awaited Summer Knights.
His buzz has grown over the past couple of years, largely due to his 1999mixtape, his feature on A$AP Rocky’s posse cut from LONGLIVEA$AP, “1 Train,” and his verse on a BET Hip Hop Awards cypher in 2012. He stands out from many of today’s popular emcees, because his music feels like a mid-90s golden age renaissance.
Truthfully, his brand of hip hop can fit into any era. As he says on “Sweet Dreams,” he is ‘stuck in the 90s,’ in terms of favoring the boom-bap beats and paying great attention to detail, flow-wise. However, he and his Pro Era crew are self-proclaimed ‘ordinary people but extraordinary poets’ (from “Right on Time”). This contrasts heavily from the exaggerated lifestyles and larger-than-life personas that are so pervasive in rap music. His music is a breath of fresh air, and oh yeah, he’s a huge fan of underground legend MF DOOM.
On this new effort, he tackles the heavy issue of his friend and Pro Era cohort Capital Steez’s suicide on “#LongLiveSteelo.” This entire mixtape is a mellow, pleasant listen with solid beats and lyrical patterns beyond the kid’s years, invoking the nostaljah of vintage Nas, AZ, Smif-n-Wessun, and the Bush Babees (also Flatbush natives) Gravity album.