SENIOR STAFF WRITER
The talent of Joey Bada$$ was immediate with his first EP back in 2012. His single “Waves” reads like a declaration—an announcement of his presence and of things to come. He started out as a teenager, and in the past five years he’s been on the scene he has only grown and evolved.
His latest album, “Good Morning AmeriKKKa” is his most biting and provocative work to date. It’s heavily political, although still easy to bump in the background. Bada$$ (or Jo-Vaughn Scott) is exploring activism and shows a great deal of promise, a Tupac or an Ice Cube for the Trump era.
While not every track on “All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$” is heavily political, everything on the album is above all else, meant to track his growth. Almost akin to a journal. “Devastated” is a celebration of his critical following and his steady ascendance to becoming one of the best rappers of his generation.
It’s an anthem of triumph, with lines like “Hopin’ I don’t let it get all in my head I don’t need the money just to say that I’m rich” Scott is playing with the common expectation people have for rappers, where they are obsessed with money and other material possessions. He is sincerely pleased with the success he is seeing and the way his life is going, and loves what he is doing now.
Although a lot of time is spent on Scott’s evolution as an artist, to focus on that entirely does the album a disservice. There is a core to “All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$” that intends to tear into the current political climate and white supremacy. It is not necessarily a nuanced take, but it is coming from the perspective of a black man living in a generation of people who are combating a new face of discrimination. In “For My People,” he focuses in on these struggles.There are some lines like, “They don’t want to see you fly, they just want to shoot your wings,” he refers to the excuses that come up in white culture for what black people suffer.
The music reflects on hindsight such as when it turned out that Darren Wilson really did mean that Michael Brown harm, and had racist intent. Barring that, they continue to put the facts together.
People are too keen to neglect the black community when in turmoil, despite having placed them there to begin with.
The beats are great; smooth and beautiful, with Scott reteaming with some of his Pro-Era producers, as well as hip-hop veteran Statik Selektah. The album does not overstay its welcome, with the length feeling appropriate.
Joey Bada$$ is taking the mic to provide a voice for a group who needs it at this point in history. He has yet to peak, but he continues to show steady improvement. He is one of the most exciting artists in hip-hop right now, and one that is worth continued examination. His lyricism can be dissected on multiple tiers, it’s the best kind of hip-hop, bordering on poetry. The album is a must listen for this summer.