Hip hop is in a state of constant evolution. There are chilly low points of creative sputtering and flashes of brilliance that pump fresh air into the atmosphere of a sometimes stuffy, predictable soundscape. There’s no telling where the music is headed.
That’s what I love about this culture. It rides waves of popularity and trend, ultimately chugging towards a mainstream pot of gold. But the beauty lies in the paths less traveled, the artists that veer from the steady course creating music based on that hum from deep within.
It’s been a good year thus far. The music is the focus again. Nostalgia anchors the feeling, but the art is brand new. All rad everything. Joey Bada$$ is the newest Brooklyn soldier quietly stirring a buzz. His head snapping gems are rooted in an era that’s years before his time.
His 1999 mixtape is an authentic piece of the New York experience. The irony is Joey is a seventeen year old kid. I had to run “Survival Tactics” back three times just so that would sink in. He’s seventeen. It’s angry and good. Scary good. 1999 is a study of an era. There are jazzy moments driven by Tribe, alongside cuts that bubble with the young angst of Mobb Deep. Halfway crooks need not apply. The last time a kid sounded this real to me I was spinning “NY State Of Mind” to death.
Big things on the horizon for Joey and his Pro-Era Team.