Joey Bada$$ – ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$
Release: 7th April 2017
Label: Pro Era, Cinematic
Producers: Joey Bada$$, Kirk Knight, Chuck Strangers, DJ Khalil
Singles: Land of the Free, Devastated
Features: J Cole, ScHoolboy Q, Styles P, Chronixx
Late last year, on A Tribe Called Quest’s Dis Generation, Q-Tip rapped: ‘Talk to Joey, Earl, Kendrick, and Cole, gatekeepers of flow / They are extensions of instinctual soul / It’s the highest in commodity grade / And you could get it today.’ Praise indeed, especially from one of the finest and most important hip-hop figures of our time. Looking to capitalise on this glowing co-sign, Joey Bada$$ is busy promoting the release of his second studio album ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$, a relevant nod at Ice Cube’s ever-important 1990 release Amerikkka’s Most Wanted. Released just yesterday (7th April), the album would feature contributions from J Cole and ScHoolboy Q, as well as production from DJ Khalil and Kirk Knight.
As you might have anticipated, with all of the on-going issues across the pond from us here in the UK, ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ is an outrageously relevant, and politically-powered piece of music. In an album crawling with references to the 45th president of the United States, Joey uses ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ to voice his frustrations, but distance himself as the solution. This is best articulated on lead single Land of the Free- ‘Sorry America, but I will not be your soldier / Obama just wasn’t enough, I just need some more closure / And Donald Trump is not equipped to take this country over.’
Content aside, ALL AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ feels a lot more polished and refined than B4.DA.$$, with noticeably higher production values, tighter percussion, and welcoming probes of jazz or soul omnipresent across the project. The production’s rise in quality is reflective of Joey’s lyricism and content, with AMA boasting some of his most important verses. Such as is the case on the Chronixx-featuring Babylon- ‘Turn on to CNN, look at what I see again / It’s another black man, died at the white hand of justice / To tell the truth, man, I’m fuckin’ disgusted / I fear for the lives, for my sisters, my brothers / Less fortunate than I, let’s formulate a plan.’
ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ is an already-important album, brimmed with desperation and fear. An open letter to America’s ever-growing list of problems. It features a disheartening array of home truths and realities, realities that I, as a white British man, can only relate to on a microscopic-to-non-existent level. However, I can relate to or at least appreciate Joey’s ability, Joey’s musical output, the above of which is undoubtedly the best of his career so far. A terrifyingly relevant and honest sophomore, an early entry for album of 2017.
Verdict – WWWW