FIB Album Of The Week: ALL AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ by Joey Bada$$

Joey Bada$$ has released his second studio album ALL AMERIKKKAN BADA$$, showing the maturing of the man behind the bars.

Photo credit: Youtube

Joey Bada$$ has already proven himself as an incredibly talented lyricist but the themes examined in ALL AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ album has brought a wiser, more mature and humbled Bada$$ to the forefront.

This album definitely takes Joey Bada$$ further along the stream of ‘conscious rap’ that has been heavily promoted by other artists such as Raury and Mick Jenkins in his ‘Waters’ album trilogy (Bada$$, who has collaborated with Jenkins previously, even references Jenkins’ latest album in the opening track, expressing he ‘is seeking the healing component’). This style of rap has been gaining popularity in response to mounting tensions across the socio-political landscape in America. ‘Conscious rap’ refers more to the philosophical content rather than a specific sound or style. These rappers boast an awareness of their significant positions and ability to influence culture. They seek to invoke in their listeners a critical reflection of themselves and the society in which they exist. As such, ‘conscious rap’ is often critical of mainstream rap and its lack of meaningful discourse.

Photo Credit: DJ Booth

While Joey Bada$$ he has never shied away from commenting on social issues in his music, the major themes of his new album are almost purely socially and politically charged. Listening to ALL AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ as part of Joey Bada$$’ musical path, it feels as though he had been waiting for the right moment in his own life to be ready to create such sophisticated analysis of the current state of America.

He maintains a fairly calm and collected demeanour throughout, before the energy begins to build with the introduction of ‘ROCKABYE BABY’ that features Schoolboy Q and is followed up by  ‘RING THE ALARM’ featuring Nyck Caution, Kirk Knight and Meechy Darko. The tone becomes more aggressive as the album begins to shift focus for these songs motivating listeners to action. These songs consider more specific issues that are closer to home for Bada$$, in particular, the culture surrounding gang lifestyles in America.

From here the tracks begin to wind down with some deeply emotional tracks. ‘BABYLON’ featuring Chronixx sees Bada$$ crying out deeply poignant lyrics with an aching sincerity:

“Fifty years later, still see my brothers choked to death
R.I.P. to Eric Garner, only right I show respect
Nowaday they hangin’ us by a different tree
Branches of the government, I can name all three
Judicial, legislative and executive”

Joey Bada$$ has stayed true to his signature style in sound that combines a naturally relaxed 90’s hip-hop flow infused with modern beats and funky instrumental elements. He has an impressive intuition for conceptualising albums, creating songs that have an impact as stand-alones but also fit cohesively within an album.

Photo Credit: Billboard

After listening to the album you are left with the feeling that Joey Bada$$ is growing but has conscientiously laid the personal foundations that will allow his future to flourish. Joey Bada$$ isn’t just in the game to make a couple of catchy hits and get famous, his vision sees far beyond his own exaltation.

The development of Joey Bada$$ as an artist has not been confined to his work in music. He has also expanded into acting, starring the acclaimed television series Mr. Robot. The show that contemplates similar concepts as Bada$$ has in this album, critiquing the current state of society as well as the individuals’ responsibility in changing the world for the better.

Joey Bada$$’ album ALL AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ is available on iTunes and Spotify now.